Google has been offering an Android emulator as part of its Google Android software development kit for years. It lets developers test Android apps using a desktop computer without copying the apps-in-progress to a phone or tablet first. But up until recently the emulator was painfully slow.

Last week Google released a new version with native x86 processor support, which sped things up a bit. Today the company is releasing revision 18 of the SDK, adding support for graphics processors and other hardware features.

Google Android emulator

The update means you can now run a much more responsive Android emulator on a desktop PC. It also supports OpenGL ES 2.0, which means that OpenGL games can run in the emulator.

The emulator also now supports multitouch input and sensors. Bluetooth and NFC support are planned for future updates.

You can download the latest Android SDK from the Android developer website. When creating a virtual machine, make sure to select the “GPU emulation” option from the hardware menu if you want to take advantage of the new features.

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3 replies on “Google Android emulator adds GPU support, gets faster”

  1. Having built my first “hello world” a week or so ago I was amazed at how slow the emulator was.  I thought I had set it up wrong or something!  Look forward to trying this out.  

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