Hey Android fans! As you all know, Ice Cream Sandwich was officially unveiled yesterday evening. In case you missed it, Google also announced that the 4.0 SDK (Source Developer Kit) is available as of right now. To most, the SDK is strictly for development purposes, but did you know, you can use it to give yourself a tour of new Android releases? The SDK has a built in Android Emulator that can be used use to simply boot up 4.0 and start poking around. So, perhaps you’re eager to know how it’s done.
Hit the break for full instructions. The following assumes you’ve never touched the SDK before.
- First of all, you’ll need the Java JDK (Java Developer Kit) on your computer. Download and install that from here if you don’t have it already. Non-developers typically only have the JRE (Java Runtime Enviroment). That won’t suffice.
- Ok, after you have that, jump on over to the SDK tab on the android developers site.
- At the top of that page you’ll find downloads for your respective OS.
- Windows users can grab an easy to use .exe while Mac and Linux owners will have to download a zip. It’s essentially the same thing. You just need to take the extra step of manually unzipping the file to a safe location on your machine.
- Now it’s time to download Ice Cream Sandwich. If you used the Windows .exe, navigate to My Computer -> C drive -> Program File (possibly Program Files (x86)) -> Android -> android-sdk -> and choose SDK Manager. Mac and Linux owners keep browsing deeper into your unzipped folder to reach the same SDK Manager. Keep this folder open for later.
- When the SDK Manager appears check off the box for Android 4.0 (API 14) and click Install Packages.
- On the next dialog box select Accept All and Install.
- After those finish downloading you need to create an AVD (Android Virtual Device). To do this, navigate back to the aforementioned folder containing SDK Manager. AVD Manager should be right above it. Open that.
- Choose to create a New AVD. Name it whatever you like. I called mine GalaxyNexus.
- Set the target for Android 4.0 – API Level 14
- You can disregard SD Card and Snapshot
- For the skin you have a multitude of options. To match the Galaxy Nexus, choose the Resolution and set the values for 720 x 1280. You could also choose Built in and leave the default of WVGA800. *More on that in a moment.
- You can choose to add different hardware elements but they aren’t necessary.
- In either case, finish up with Create AVD.
- Time to explore! You’ll be back at the original AVD menu. Click your AVD once and then hit Start.
- The black screen with the shining Android text should appear. Now get yourself some popcorn. The Android emulator is notoriously slow to boot.
- When it finally does finish booting, however, you’ll finally be in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The entire experience is sluggish, but it’s all there for you to browse. Have fun!
*About the skin options; if you go the first route, you should boot up Ice Cream Sandwich with onscreen software keys, just like the new Galaxy Nexus. If instead you opt for the default WVGA800, you’ll load up the emulator with hardware components enabled. Essentially your running ICS as it would appear on phones which have the current standard menu, home, back and search. Running in this configuration, the on screen buttons are missing, and home, menu, back, and search function in the same way as they do now. It is, as of yet, unclear to me how to see running apps on pre-Ice Cream phones. That should hopefully give you some ideas if you were wondering how phones like the Nexus S could handle 4.0.
This definitely requires some patience to use, but it’s really nice for getting a second glimpse at what was shown at the event this past evening.
By the way, if the steps above have you feeling a bit faint of heart, a new Nexus page has appeared that covers the big highlights of the new phone and OS
Be sure to let us know if you got it working.