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How can I run android apps, i.e. from the android marketplace on a linux PC? Does there exist any easy-to-use android emulator or virtual machine environment?

FWIW, I'm running arch linux and scrotwm, and I do have GPS and wwan modem installed in my laptop. However, pointers to how to do this in standard Ubuntu or in Gnome may also be relevant.

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-1 for not bothering to google. Or if you did google before asking the -1 is for not explaining why the many options that turns up is of no use for you. – Nifle Jul 10 '12 at 17:31 for virtual, and for native.

Note however that I'm not confident that either solution will be able to use your GPS or WWAN in the context of Android. Even if you have Linux drivers for these devices, they may not be integrated into Android, which is a completely different beast than just having kernel modules to support them on (desktop) Linux. The problem becomes even stranger when talking about using the host's GPS through the emulator.

Was tempted to -1 the question but figured I'd post AN answer...

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Given that this page is the number one hit from Google when searching for running Android/linux apps on GNU/linux, it really deserves a better answer. Fortunately, I've come up with one that is very easy: simply run the android-x86 live CD using Linux's kvm (kernel-based virtual machine).

  1. Download the latest boot CD (android-x86.iso):

  2. Boot the iso file in a virtual machine using qemu/kvm:

    kvm -m 1024 -vga vmware -soundhw ac97 -boot d -cdrom android-x86.iso

That's all you need if you want to just run some apps once. If you want persistent storage, you'll need a couple extra steps:

  1. Create a file to act as the hard drive:

    qemu-image create -f qcow2 android.img 1G

  2. Install android-x86 on that "drive":

    kvm -hda android.img -m 1024 -vga vmware -soundhw ac97 -boot d -cdrom android-x86.iso

You'll have to create a new partition using 'cfdisk', but it sounds like you're familiar enough with GNU/Linux that that won't be a problem. Once the install is done, you can run android directly instead of using the boot CD:

kvm -hda android.img -m 1024 -vga vmware -soundhw ac97

As I said, I've tested out this solution and it works great. I was able to add a Google account, connect to the Play store, and install an app with no problems. Networking worked magically, using the host's connection, so I'd assume your WWAN would be no problem. I do not know about your GPS device, however.

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