Improve performance of android virtual devices during development and testing

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If you are an Android developer you would find the default emulator in SDK slow and painful to work with. In this article, I will explain few alternative methods to boost the performance of the android virtual devices.

Intel® Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM)

If you are using a fairly up to date Intel® processor with Intel® Virtualization technology, you will be able to boost the performance of your Emulator with Intel® HAXM. It doesn’t matter which operating platform you are using. HAXM works for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. In a nutshell, It will allow you to use an Intel® ATOM CPU for your AVD which will boost your performance. Intel® has published an excellent walkthrough guide to install HAXM on your machine.

Genymotion

Genymotion is an application which allows you to create Android Virtual Devices. There is a bunch of added features in the application. Since this article is about performance I would not go detail into the features they offer. Genymotion plugin is also available for Eclipse and IntelliJ, which will make it easier for to integrate with the IDE.

Benchmarks

System Configuration: 
MacBook Air
1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Virtualization Enabled)
2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 Memory
Default Emulator: 3 Minutes 30 Secs
Emulator with HAXM: 2 Minutes 10 Secs
Genymotion: 23 Secs

Conclusion:

I have a fairly old machine with a very low system configuration for a developer.  As you can see in the Benchmarks, Genymotion has the best performance. Clearly Intel HAXM is faster than the default emulator. I think the performance with Intel HAXM could be better in a system with a high configuration and a large memory. I use IntelliJ for development and Genymotion has a native plugin which allows to test and run the applications on the Genymotion Virtual Devices very easily.

Additional Reading:

Speeding Up the Android* Emulator on Intel® Architecture

Genymotion Eclipse Plugin

Genymotion IntelliJ Plugin

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