UPDATE : Version 1.4 opens the Emulator Manager Directly.
UPDATE : Version 1.3 supports the new Android Emulator SDK.
As many of us know, Visual Studio 2015 comes with an android emulator. (Visual Studio Emulator for Android). This emulator works on hyper-v and needs minimal amount of time to launch. For those of developing cross platform applications on Visual Studio, this is like a dream come true.
Why Android Emulator for Visual Studio?
Before this release, developers were either using the Genymotion android emulator or the standard Intel (HAXM) emulators that comes with the android SDK (Xamarin notes on emulators). The standard emulator was sufficient enough for smaller projects, however the execution time and the launch was quite painful and unproductive. Genymotion’s emulator works quite fast and efficient, however it uses Virtual box for emulation. This means if you want to develop for Windows Phone and Android on the same machine, you have to disable Hyper-V for android emulation, and enable it back again for Windows Phone emulation.
Finally, the Visual Studio android emulator completely solves this problem. It is fast and it does not use that much resources. Launch time is comparable to Genymotion and supports Api Level 19 on phone and tablet versions.
Using Visual Studio 2013
After installing Visual Studio 2015 and the android emulator, for those of you who is not ready to give up Visual Studio 2013 for various reasons, Android Emulator can be used with Visual Studio 2013 (Update 4). In order to use the emulator, you have to launch it somehow (either using command line, or launching an android project from Visual Studio 2015), and then the emulator will appear as a choice on the debug button on the VS 2013.
In order to decrease this hassle, I wrote a small VS extension which launches the emulator with the default or desired memory (default is 512MB) and resolution (default is 720×1280).
The visual studio extension can be downloaded from the Visual Studio Extensions Gallery or using the extension manager on visual studio.
After the extension is installed, in the tool bars menu (when you right click on the tool bars section) on visual studio, you will notice the new toolbar item “Visual Studio Android Tools”. If you select this item, it will add two tool bar buttons for controlling the android emulator.
With the settings button, you can select the resolution and the memory you want to use for the emulator.
And with the first button you can launch the emulator with the desired settings.
Hope it helps someone out there.
Happy coding everyone,