I will like to know some of the android emulators that work really well with Ubuntu 11.10 and above. I want to try 'whatsapp' on Ubuntu through an android emulator. Thanks in advance

  • 2
    Doesn't the Android SDK provides the Emulator? Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 16:44
  • @UriHerrera kind of a noob when it comes to android development ;)
    – Mysterio
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 20:57

4 Answers 4


According to : http://crashcourse.ca/content/android-emulator-ubuntu-1004-60-seconds

  • You'll have to install a JDK : $ sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk
  • Then go to the download page of Android SDK to download it. http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html
  • After, update the SDK : $ android update sdk --no-ui
  • Check if the output of $ android list returns you the list of available SDK.
  • Type $ android pick "new". Set things as you want.
  • Once done, check the output of : $ android list avds pic the "name" entry.
  • To finish : launch the emulator : $ emulator @avdsname.

And then you're good to go.

  • When I open an avd I created, I only get to see 'android' on a black screen, in either its trademark font or in fixedsys font. In cases of some of the avds I created, just a blank screen appears. Also some of the buttons are enabled while others aren't. Sadly the home button is not among the enabled. I wonder what must be done!
    – Karthik C
    Commented Nov 23, 2012 at 10:02

This answer is written form an end user, gamer perspective, although much of it applies to other uses as well.

Google play store / services

Please understand the difference.

Google play services is a set of tools used by developers to make applications (games) available in the google play store


Google play store is a set of tools used by end users to install applications, somewhat similar to the Ubuntu repositories.



In my experience, after a lot of trial and error I will warn you there is no easy way to play android games on Linux / Ubuntu as of the time of this post.

The best option, sorry to say, is memu (windows program, will not run in wine). There is no Linux option that is as stable, fast, easy and full featured as memu for games.


It is free, includes google play store, fast, well integrated into windows, including file sharing between host / guest, mouse integration, extensive customization, scripting of game play, allowing multiple instances open at one time, etc.

The feature list alone should be enough to convince you to at least run memu in a VM if not bare metal (ie run on windows).

memu is much faster than any of the Linux / Ubuntu options.

memu starts in seconds as opposed to Linux options, android-x86 takes almost 5 minutes to boot to the android boot splash on my laptop. Some people report that android-x86 does not work simply because they did not wait the 15 minutes it takes to boot (not kidding).

Documentation - /http://www.memuplay.com/download/Memu-User-Manual.pdf

Record game actions to automate game play - http://www.memuplay.com/blog/how-to-use-operation-record/

memu screen shots

memu game


Linux options / limitations

The major limitation for game play is google play store. Google play store can not be included without permission from google. In addition many complex games do not work on the Linux emulators. For example, you can not play most android games on android-x86 (port of android to x68 / x86_64 processors). Many games from the google play store will install, but not function.

how to install android applications / games (apk) - This applies to most of the Linux emulators.

Note: If you use an emulator that does NOT include google play store you have to download the android installer (apk) and install manually.

and apk is a package archive, like a .deb - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_application_package

To get the apk use web service such as https://apkpure.com/app


Once you have downloaded you have to transfer it to your emulator (or download it in the emulator) and then you need to go under security in your emulator and allow installation from untrusted sources and sometimes enable developer mode.

See http://www.tomsguide.com/faq/id-2326514/download-install-android-apps-unidentified-developer.html

and https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/5566/how-can-i-install-an-app-given-only-its-apk-file

This applies to most of the Linux emulators.

Google play services are included with or can easily be installed on any of the Linux emulators.

Linux Emulator Options

  1. Android SDK - This is cumbersome to install, somewhat complex to use, and designed for application development not games.

    It is slow. Did I mention is is very slow ?

    The primary purpose of Android SDK is to write android programs. If you install an android game on SDK it will more likely than not be so slow as to be unusable and I would not use it in any PvP game.

    See Complete Installation Guide for Android SDK / ADT Bundle on Ubuntu

  2. Android on Chrome

    May work on chromium for some games, I could not get it working on chromium for more complex games such as clash of clans.

    You need to install Chrome, at least beta if not unstable. The main reason for this is webgl - https://get.webgl.org/

    So, while your browser may support webgl, webgl is in development and I had trouble with webgl 2 working with games and webgl 2 is required by most complex games.

    How to install all versions (stable/beta/unstable) of Google Chrome side by side without conflicts?

    Not all games are ported. Moderately complex, not as bad as SDK. Not well integrated into os. No means to automate games.

    See chrome extension "ARC" - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/arc-welder/emfinbmielocnlhgmfkkmkngdoccbadn

    I consider this option to be in beta and many users report bugs.

  3. Anbox

    This is designed for Ubuntu, and probably your best option I have not tried it personally. Currently is is not well supported on other distros, but many distros are adding in support.

    Glaring limitation - It does not include google play store and games may or may not work well.

    As far as I know it is in rapid development and has bugs.

    See also http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/anbox-runs-android-in-your-linux-without-emulation

  4. Virtualbox / KVM - The android x86 OS will run very slow and most games will not run on the image.

    Google play is included in recent versions, and games will install, but complex games such as clash of clans or similar will crash or refuse to open.

    You can speed it up a bit - https://doc.nuxeo.com/blog/speeding-up-the-android-emulator/ . I personally did not see the massive 400% speed boost claimed by the author although there is a modest improvement.


  5. Genymotion . This is considered the best, but it is cumbersome to install and is not free. I tried older free versions and it was slow and did not include google play store. New versions include google play services and a google store like application.


    You have to have virtualbox installed to use genymotion, not really a big deal but you have to be careful of the version as there are sometimes conflicts with vbox and genymotion versions.

    I would not advise you install older versions (you can find them on the net). They are free for personal use, but slow and will not play games.

    Genymotion is moderately cumbersome and annoying. You have to download a .run file which will install it. You then have to register an account and purchase a license. After entering your key you then download an image.

    Once running it is fast enough, at least it was with older free versions. I did not pay for a license so more recent versions are untested.

    Genymotion has no tools for scripting games (unlike memu).

    Genymotion is much slower than memu .

    People who use is love it, up to you if you want to pay an annual fee.

    Initial trial - 30 days free. After 30 days https://www.genymotion.com/pricing-and-licensing/

    Some people claim genymotion is free for personal use if you contact their support team https://www.genymotion.com/contact/

  6. AndroVM - merged with Genymotion . Previous free versions do not include google play store.

  7. Andy OS - Although they claim andy "runs on Linux", really it runs on Windows guest in virtualbox on a linux host.

    How do i install Andy the android emulator on Linux?

    Personally I would run memu rather than andy, memu has more features.

  • This is one great answer! +1 =)
    – Terrance
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 2:25

The best and the most user-friendly android emulator availbale on Ubuntu is Genymotion. I really recommend that you try it

  • First install #virtualbox, and then install it in virtualbox. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 11:08
  • 2
    Genymotion is no longer free for personal use (must purchase a license after 30 day trial). Free version does not include google play.
    – Panther
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 16:17
  • The website makes it seem like it's not free for personal use, but it actually is. At least at the moment. The "personal use" links are just not displayed as prominently as the "free trial" links. Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 9:13

i was using the virtualbox to run 4.0.3 honeycomb in ubuntu 11.10 it ran smothly (kinda slugish at times) and theres actualy a forum to do so but i forgot the name but it has a "X 86 android" good luck


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