When comparing Android development to iOS development, there was always one thing with iOS that stuck out as being much better and faster and this was their device emulators (Apple calls them simulators). The Android emulator for ARM is so slow. Sometimes it is so painfully slow that I would end up just using a device and pushing builds to that. But pushing over USB each time you wanted to test a change can be time consuming as well depending on the size of your app. I always thought there had to be a better way. Turns out there is. Say hello to AndroVM.
AndroVM is Android that runs as a virtual machine. It is an open source project which you can download and build or take one of their other builds and use with either VirtualBox or VMware. Once the VM is installed, there is very little you need to do to set it up. You will notice when you start the virtual machine that it is quick. I don’t mean it is a tad bit quicker than the emulators, but I mean it is leaps and bounds faster than the emulator. Navigating around the OS is very fast and snappy.
Another nice thing about the VM is that it is the full version of Android with the Play store and Google apps. This makes it nice so there is no need to sideload applications that you my use for development. If you are developing on it, you are able to change the screen size and pixel density to a number of different values. Upon change you will need to restart but it restarts so fast it isn’t really an issue. This allows a quick look at how your apps or responsive web designs would look in different resolutions. If you are doing native development, it is even possible to push builds straight to the VM from your IDE.
If you get a chance try it out. I really like it and have found it very useful. I have only tested it in VirtualBox and have had no issues as of yet.