Android SDK gets major usability update thanks to GPU acceleration

by: Bams SadewoApril 10, 2012
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Google is releasing revision number 18 of its Android emulator, which should be a real treat for Android developers of the world in dire need for better tools to build the next big hit in Google Play Store. According to a post made on Android Developers’ blog, the latest revision will bring “a dramatic performance upgrade and support for a broader range of hardware features, notably sensors and multi-finger input”.

The most prominent addition to revision 18 of the Android SDK is the built-in GPU support for Android 4.0.3 R2, which allows the emulator to use the computer’s GPU for a boost of performance. Additionally, OpenGL ES 2.0 is now supported, making it possible to run OpenGL games inside the emulator.

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The latest revision allows you to tether an Android device to the emulator to supply multi-touch input and a host of other sensors. The team, however, said that they are still working to bring Bluetooth and NFC hardware support.

In addition, the R 18 developer tools also offer improved CPU performance for the emulator. “Hardware floating point operation has been available for system images since Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), allowing CPU operations to be emulated roughly twice as quickly,” the team explained. The previous iteration of the software developer kit already provided the Android emulator access to the host CPU.

Hopefully, the new and improved version of the SDK will make Android development even more accessible. Up until now, the Android emulator was barely usable, forcing many developers to buy test devices. The new Android emulator is available for Windows, Mac OS X (Intel), and Linux (i386) and you can download it directly here. If you’re new to the wonderful world of Android apps building, check out our guide right here on how to install the kit.

Let us know if you give the new emulator a try – how big is the difference for you?

  • Would be definetly boost the slow emulators of Android sdk, should check out actual results.

  • Alok Saharia

    Well, this update is nice enough for developers. But a question here… is there any Android application that can help me in editing the theme? I think there should be one but I am not able to find it. Thanks!!

  • cbabos

    Actually in integrated Intel GPU we need an option to disable this feature. In my case, the emulator is much much slower. Can’t use like that.

  • It uses almost a gig of RAM. It is much faster. But still not an option for serious Android development. Running code on a real device via ADT is still the only realistic option.

  • Hector_1994

    i dont get it i got the lastest sdk 4.0.3 but i dont know how to implement the hardware GPU

  • Hector_1994

    so u mean i have it already?