Android OS
How To Run Android Smoothly On Your Desktop

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, at the bottom of an ocean, possibly in a different demotion, you would have heard about Google’s mobile operating system Android. If you have not heard of the OS yet, I’d like to welcome you to our universe and invite to read some more about it before continuing.

Whether you’re a developer, a die-hard Android fan or even a skeptic (I’m looking at you Apple boys), you might want to run Android on your desktop. Maybe you want to test your awesome app or continue using your favourite one after you put your phone away. You may even be thinking of breaking up with your iPhone but want to see if the grass is actually greener on the other side.

Until recently, users were stuck with having to download the Android SDK, then download all the platforms and their supporting services, then setup their AVD, and only then they could launch the Android emulator on their machines. Unlike Apple’s iOS emulator, which runs faster than it would on the physical device, Android’s emulator runs painfully slow. But don’t worry, there is a non-geeky way to solve this problem and have a blazing fast Android emulator up and running on your computer in a matter of minutes.


For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll be using Genymotion, an open source Android Virtual Machine that in my experience runs faster than an actual device. You’ll need a few tools before you get started but the chances are you have those already.

It uses x86 architecture virtualization, that makes it crazy fast and efficient. It also uses OpenGL hardware acceleration that brings smooth graphics and animation to your experience. Which these are things you can do from scratch, Genymotion brings them all to you a simple to use application

Get Setup

1 - Download Genymotion(36 MB) and install it. You need to sign up for a free account before you can download the application. The company uses these numbers as bragging rights (no big deal).

2 -Download VirtualBox (118 MB) and install it if you haven’t already.

3- Launch Genymotion and click on the “+” icon at the top to start the wizard.

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 12.33.47 pm

4- You can now select which version of Android you’d like to run. As a rule of thumb I normally go for the latest version as it packs more features and looks better. You can also choose what device you want the emulator to behave like, this is particularly helpful for developers

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 12.31.31 pm

5- Click next and let the application do its job. Feel free to go grab a cup of coffee while you wait. This might take a while as it downloads the Android version you chose and a bunch of configuration files that need to go with it.

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 12.32.23 pm

6- When the setup finishes successfully, you can just go back to your launchPad and start the device you have created.

7- Enjoy your smooth Android experience on desktop.


Final Thoughts

Genymotion comes with a range of tools and features that will help developers increase productivity and focus on important things like fixing bugs and improving performance. One of the features that stands out is the drag and drop APK installation(equivalent to your IPA files on iOS).

By default Google does not allow access to their Play store, but there is a workaround for download any APK and installing it on the emulator. This is specially helpful for users who’d like to use their android apps on the device, or users who are considering to make the switch.

I hope this tutorial has helped you. If you have any issues with the setup, just leave me a comment or hit me up on twitter.