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Android SDK emulator adds hardware acceleration, gives developers a speed boost

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The Android emulator now supports GPU acceleration for Android 4.0.4, vastly improving performance. Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich have never run well on the emulator, but that doesn't appear to be the case anymore now that the host computer's GPU can help out in revision 18.

Galaxy Nexus Android 4
Galaxy Nexus Android 4

Google updated the Android SDK last month to speed up its emulator with x86 CPU support, allowing developers to more easily work on and test Android apps from their desktops, but it appears that was just a primer for the latest revision. The emulator now supports GPU acceleration for Android 4.0.4, vastly improving performance. Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich have never run well on the emulator, but it appears that isn't the case anymore now that the host computer's GPU can help out. As a bonus, the new feature — which is currently in beta — lets the emulator run OpenGL games. Combined with the native x86 support from the last revision, the emulator looks like it really flies compared to its former self in the videos below. In addition, the "experimental" support for multitouch gestures from a tethered Android phone appears to have graduated from its beta status, and sensor readings from the connected device are now supported, too. Revision 18 of the Android SDK is available to download now from the source link below.