Note that this is a Level 3 workshop, meaning that it is very challenging and not for beginners. The first step is to download the Java 7 Standard Edition Development Kit. Scroll down to find the correct download for your PC – choose ‘Windows x86’ for 32-bit versions of Windows or ‘Windows x64’ for 64-bit versions. To find out which you need, click Start, then right-click Computer (My Computer in XP) and choose Properties: in Vista/7 the version is listed under System Type, but in XP it is 32-bit unless you see the words ‘64-bit Edition’. When downloaded, run the program and follow the simple wizard to install the Java 7 software.
At the end of the install wizard, click Finish and a registration web page will open – close this as registration is not necessary. Now download the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). Click on the link in the Windows section that starts with ‘installer_’ to get the latest version. When downloaded, run this and click Next – it should detect the Java SDK and show words to that effect. Click Next, then Next, then Install. When it’s finished, click Finish to launch the SDK Manager.
After a few moments, the SDK Manager will show the available downloads. Find the entry in the list labelled ‘Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 7’, select it and click the Accept radio button. Do the same for all the entries that start with ‘SDK Platform Android’. Click Reject for all the other items (these are not needed for the Android emulator), then click Install. This can take a long time: each download is installed immediately after it is downloaded. Note that the ‘Choose packages’ window will appear every time the SDK Manager is launched – just click Cancel to dismiss it.
If an ADB Restart message appears, click Yes. Click Close on the Installing Archives window. Now click New, type a name in the Name box, choose Android version 1.5 in the Target dropdown box, then type ‘512’ in the SD Card Size box. Click Create AVD. When a confirmation message appears, click OK. You can create as many virtual devices as you wish, using different Android versions. For example, repeat the above but choose Android version 3.2 for a tablet device. Virtual tablet devices may run very slowly though – even on a fast PC.
Select the device, click Start, then click Launch. The virtual phone can take several minutes to start – it displays ‘Android’ while launching – so have patience. Eventually the Android home screen will appear. All the phone’s buttons work as they would on a real Android smartphone, but they’re operated by clicking with the mouse, rather than a finger on a touchscreen. The PC’s keyboard can be used for situations where text needs to be entered, such as typing in website addresses. Clicking the Home button (with a house icon) returns you to the Android home screen, and the left-pointing arrow is the Back button. Apps are launched with a single click. To view or change settings, click the Menu button, then Settings. Close the window (click the red X at the top-right corner) to turn off the emulator.
The mouse is also used to emulate touch gestures: click and hold on an empty part of the screen, drag left or right, then release the mouse button to move between the three separate Android home screens, for example. Click and hold for a couple of seconds to bring up the customisation menu, then choose Widgets or Shortcuts to add items to any home screen. You can also change wallpapers and create folders with this menu. To remove an item, click and hold it until a wastepaper basket icon appears at the bottom of the screen, then drag the widget on to this.