CHIPMAKER Intel has shipped an Android software development kit (SDK) x86 system image with Google API support for devices powered by its Atom mobile chip.
Intel Atom x86 system images for the Android SDK emulator have been available to users for a while, but many have been frustrated that the system image didn't include access to any of the Google application programming interfaces (APIs).
The good news is that Intel and Google have worked together to release an x86 system image for the Android SDK that includes the Google APIs, supporting API 19/Android 4.4.2 Kitkat.
"That means you can now test your apps that use Google APIs on an x86 virtual device image, and take advantage of the huge hardware acceleration speed boost you get from our HAXM driver if your development system has Intel VT virtualization technology," Intel said in a post on its Developer Zone blog.
To get the x86 system image with Google APIs, open up the Android SDK Manager window in Eclipse, Go to the "Android 4.4.2/API 19" section, and install both the "Intel x86 Atom System Image" and the "Google APIs (x86 System Image)".
Once the new system image is installed, Intel said that you need to create a new Android Virtual Device (AVD) for the emulator to use.
"If you're not already using it, you're going to want to get our Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM) tool, which can drastically speed up the emulator in the Android SDK," Intel said. HAXM is a hardware-assisted virtualisation engine that uses Intel Virtualisation Technology (VT) to speed up Android app emulation on a host machine.
"In combination with Android x86 emulator images provided by Intel and the official Android SDK Manager, HAXM allows for faster Android emulation on Intel VT enabled systems," the chipmaker added.
"If you're developing on a machine with an Intel CPU that has VT and you have installed HAXM, you'll know it's working if you see the following when you start your Android Virtual Device."
Intel's growth into the Android ecosystem hasn't been the smoothest, as the number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an Atom CPU still rather small, leaving much to be desired in terms of available x86 architecture devices for app developers.
Intel's emulator images have also lacked support for the Google APIs, meaning developers haven't been able to test common apps or features such as Google Maps, so the arrival of the Google APIs will certainly be welcome. µ