Emulators, Android and...?

In the future, maybe a couple of months, I will be working on a new kind of project, for me. We have an old program which needs to be updated for modern times, and part of that update is that this program will need to work in seemingly identical ways for Windows and Android devices. Some time after that (maybe a year), we will also want to port that over to iOS devices.

Now I’m pretty good with automation in a Windows environment, and reasonably good with programing in C# and a little bit out of practice with Python. I can also pick up new languages and environments and learn them to acceptable levels in a very short amount of time.

That being said, I feel confident in our automation strategy and my ability to automate once I have the right environment, but I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed.

In my research, I wanted to find an Android emulator for Windows which I could start practicing in, which would then hopefully be used when I automate some of the testing. Most of what I found were lists. Big lists. HUGE lists. And none of these lists actually give me enough information to help me make a decision about which emulator to use.

So, based on that, I have two questions (at first) to you, my dear community:

  1. Is there an Android emulator (for Windows) which is head-and-shoulders better than the rest for a certain context?
  2. Do you need any more information to answer the first question constructively?
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It’s been a while since I had the need to run an Android emulator, but I used to use the ones in the Android SDK. Having said that, I didn’t automate anything on it. I also used Xcode on occasion for iOS but I found that a right royal PITA to use; I remember commenting to my boss that I was amazed anyone ever developed anything for iPhones if that was what they were forced to work with!

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As already stated before, the emulators in Android Studio are pretty good although can be pretty resource heavy. For iOS you only have one option and that is the build on simulator of Xcode. Again, not a “light” tool to run by any means.

There are also cloud providers like Browsterstack or Sauce Labs that can provide your with emulators, simulators and even real devices. There is a cost associated with them of course, but they also come with all kinds of automation integration through Appium which works pretty well.


Thank you very kindly. Your advice is very helpful.

I guess you can use GenyMotion Emulator

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I can confirm all the above mentioned ones. I would give one more, but it is depending too much from the settings, and it is trying to run it via Virtualbox (Genymotion is a lot faster, they both could use the same images). What is again a very resource heavy action. What is very important, too, is to decide which versions do you want to cover from Android, because they all behave differently on many levels.

So, first check the android market share before testing a specific version. After some time, you will have some kind of statistic for sure, about the usage of them with your product. You will have to keep an eye on it.

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