Setting up AVD and mobile connection

Learning Resources

Setting up AVD and mobile connection

An Android Virtual Device (AVD) is an emulator configuration that lets you model an actual device by defining hardware and software options to be emulated by the Android Emulator.

The easiest way to create an AVD is to use the graphical AVD Manager, which you launch from Eclipse by clicking Window > AVD Manager. You can also start the AVD Manager from the command line by calling the androidtool with the avdoptions, from the /tools/ directory.

You can also create AVDs on the command line by passing the androidtool options. For more information on how to create AVDs in this manner, see Managing Virtual Devices from the Command Line.

An AVD consists of:

  • A hardware profile: Defines the hardware features of the virtual device. For example, you can define whether the device has a camera, whether it uses a physical QWERTY keyboard or a dialing pad, how much memory it has, and so on.
  • A mapping to a system image: You can define what version of the Android platform will run on the virtual device. You can choose a version of the standard Android platform or the system image packaged with an SDK add-on.
  • Other options: You can specify the emulator skin you want to use with the AVD, which lets you control the screen dimensions, appearance, and so on. You can also specify the emulated SD card to use with the AVD.
  • A dedicated storage area on your development machine: the device's user data (installed applications, settings, and so on) and emulated SD card are stored in this area.

You can create as many AVDs as you need, based on the types of device you want to model. To thoroughly test your application, you should create an AVD for each general device configuration (for example, different screen sizes and platform versions) with which your application is compatible and test your application on each one.

Keep these points in mind when you are selecting a system image target for your AVD:

  • The API Level of the target is important, because your application will not be able to run on a system image whose API Level is less than that required by your application, as specified in the minSdkVersion attribute of the application's manifest file. For more information about the relationship between system API Level and application minSdkVersion, see Specifying Minimum System API Version.
  • You should create at least one AVD that uses a target whose API Level is greater than that required by your application, because it allows you to test the forward-compatibility of your application. Forward-compatibility testing ensures that, when users who have downloaded your application receive a system update, your application will continue to function normally.
  • If your application declares a uses-library element in its manifest file, the application can only run on a system image in which that external library is present. If you want to run your application on an emulator, create an AVD that includes the required library. Usually, you must create such an AVD using an Add-on component for the AVD's platform (for example, the Google APIs Add-on contains the Google Maps library).

Managing AVDs with AVD Manager

The AVD Manager is an easy to use user interface to manage your AVD (Android Virtual Device) configurations. An AVD is a device configuration for the Android emulator that allows you to model different configurations of Android-powered devices. When you start the AVD Manager in Eclipse or run the androidtool on the command line, you will see the AVD Manager as shown in figure 1:

Figure 1. Screenshot of the AVD Manager.

From the main screen, you can create, delete, repair and start AVDs as well as see the details of each AVD.

Creating an AVD

You can create as many AVDs as you would like to test on. It is recommended that you test your applications on all API levels higher than the target API level for your application.

To create an AVD:

  1. Start the AVD Manager:
    • In Eclipse: select Window > AVD Manager, or click the AVD Manager icon in the Eclipse toolbar.
    • In other IDEs: Navigate to your SDK's tools/directory and execute the androidtool with no arguments.
  2. In the Virtual Devices panel, you'll see a list of existing AVDs. Click New to create a new AVD. The Create New AVD dialog appears.

    AVD Dialog

    Figure 2. Screenshot of the Create AVD window

  3. Fill in the details for the AVD.

    Give it a name, a platform target, an SD card size, and a skin (HVGA is default). You can also add specific hardware features of the emulated device by clicking the New... button and selecting the feature. For a list of hardware features, see Hardware options.

    Note: Be sure to define a target for your AVD that satisfies your application's Build Target (the AVD platform target must have an API Level equal to or greater than the API Level that your application compiles against).

  4. Click Create AVD.

Your AVD is now ready and you can either close the AVD Manager, create more AVDs, or launch an emulator with the AVD by selecting a device and clicking Start.

Hardware options

If you are creating a new AVD, you can specify the following hardware options for the AVD to emulate:

Characteristic Description Property
Device ram size The amount of physical RAM on the device, in megabytes. Default value is "96". hw.ramSize
Touch-screen support Whether there is a touch screen or not on the device. Default value is "yes". hw.touchScreen
Trackball support Whether there is a trackball on the device. Default value is "yes". hw.trackBall
Keyboard support Whether the device has a QWERTY keyboard. Default value is "yes". hw.keyboard
DPad support Whether the device has DPad keys. Default value is "yes". hw.dPad
GSM modem support Whether there is a GSM modem in the device. Default value is "yes". hw.gsmModem
Camera support Whether the device has a camera. Default value is "no".
Maximum horizontal camera pixels Default value is "640".
Maximum vertical camera pixels Default value is "480".
GPS support Whether there is a GPS in the device. Default value is "yes". hw.gps
Battery support Whether the device can run on a battery. Default value is "yes". hw.battery
Accelerometer Whether there is an accelerometer in the device. Default value is "yes". hw.accelerometer
Audio recording support Whether the device can record audio. Default value is "yes". hw.audioInput
Audio playback support Whether the device can play audio. Default value is "yes". hw.audioOutput
SD Card support Whether the device supports insertion/removal of virtual SD Cards. Default value is "yes". hw.sdCard
Cache partition support Whether we use a /cache partition on the device. Default value is "yes". disk.cachePartition
Cache partition size Default value is "66MB". disk.cachePartition.size
Abstracted LCD density Sets the generalized density characteristic used by the AVD's screen. Default value is "160". hw.lcd.density
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