Hi folks in this second installment we will talk about the next series of Android emulators to play games on your Windows PC. In the first part we talked about Bluestacks, That was a simple setup and go application. These require a little legwork to get going and they might be a little unstable. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!
The Android emulator
One of the most “basic” ways to get your Android apps running on a PC is to use the Android emulator released by Google that is part of the official SDK. This emulator can be used to create a virtual device running almost any version of Android you want along with different resolutions and hardware configurations. The biggest downside of this process is the complicated setup process.
First you’ll need to grab the SDK package from Google’s site
and use the included SDK Manager to download the platform you want, probably whatever the most recent version of Android that happens to be at the time. The AVD manager is where you will create and manage your virtual devices. Google makes some pre-configured options available in the menu for the Nexus devices, but you can also set the parameters manually too. Once you boot your virtual device, you’ will need to get some apps installed, but the emulator is the bone stock plain Vanilla open source version of Android . (no Google apps are included.)
Be prepared there is no Play Store, you’ll need to do some file management. Take the APK (app installer) you want to install and put the file into the tools
folder in your SDK directory. Then you will use the command prompt while your AVD is running and enter (in that windows directory) adb install filename.apk. The app should be added to the app list on your virtual device.
The upside here is that the emulator is pure Android right from the source. The way apps work in the emulator will be the same as they work on devices. This is great for testing app builds before loading them onto test devices. The biggest drawback is that the emulator is slow and lacks the hardware acceleration to make games run acceptably.
Android PC ports
Now here is one that will take a little work. How about running a complete port on your PC? Support will be somewhat limited because of the many different hardware configuration options for PCs. The top two choices for a full Android installation on PC are Android on Intel Architecture
(UEFI-equipped devices) and the Android-x86 Project
. The problem is that neither one of them is perfect, and you’ll need to make sure you have a supported piece of hardware. You could install them over top of Windows, but that’s not a great idea. The smart way would be to create a separate hard drive partition and install Android there, or maybe run a virtual machine, which is even better. Neither of these solutions might not be good enough for games, but most apps should install and run correctly. Also you’ll have to install the apps you want manually because there’s no Google Play here either.
So there you have it, There are many options to run Android apps on your pc. Although neither one is perfect it is fun to play with for sure. And if you are into app development this is a good way to test them.