Google TV Emulator: Seemingly Pointless
These instructions work to get KVM going on Ubuntu desktop.
I did not need to disable
vboxdrv as the documentation stated. I have the emulator working on Ubuntu 11.04,
both for 720p and 1080p. Not surprisingly, 720p runs faster.
Also, I received a tweet that suggested a follow-on emulator for Windows and OS X is apparently in the works.
The original post, with strikeouts for where I was wrong and boldface for some replacement prose, follows the line break.
If the @googletvdev #Android SDK add-on stays limited to Linux at release time I think we can kiss goodbye a lot of developer interest.
I agree: the Google TV emulator
implementation that has shipped as part of the SDK add-on preview seems
pointless limited in reach.
First, it requires Linux. Right there, a lot of developers will dismiss it outright, because they do not use Linux themselves. Personally, I’m writing this on a Linux machine, so this requirement does not bother me, but I know from first-hand experience that I am seriously in the minority in Android development.
Second, it not only requires Linux, but it requires Linux running on a machine that supports hardware virtualization. While many CPUs do (e.g., Intel Core i7), there are many developers doing Android development on less-capable hardware.
Third, it not only requires Linux and a compatible CPU/BIOS, but it requires
a Linux distro with KVM enabled. Ubuntu, for example, does not ship with KVM
enabled for the desktop. Ubuntu uses KVM for servers, not desktops
, and I can
only find KVM information for the current Ubuntu (Natty Narwhal) for enabling
it on a server. In fact, I cannot find any desktop distro that explicitly
supports KVM — if anyone knows of one, please let me know. Few developers
will already have their development machine set up to run a GUI-enabled server distro,
where KVM might be more readily available.
This effectively means
that nearly 100% the majority of Android developers wishing to use
the emulator will need to purchase a new computer or dual-boot their existing one. And, for those without
Linux experience, they’ll have to learn a new OS.
The result is
that nearly 100% vast quantities of Android developers will ignore Google TV
or will buy a Google TV device if/when one becomes available in their market.
I can certainly understand why Google might want to avoid VirtualBox, given that it is an Oracle product nowadays. But, why not VMWare? Players are free, last I checked. Google TV runs on x86, so the lack of ARM support isn’t an issue (and, besides, KVM doesn’t do ARM anyway). This would not only solve the KVM limitation but would allow developers on Windows and OS X to play as well.
So, I agree with Al. If this is the be-all and end-all of Google TV emulation, it’ll be a non-starter for way too many Android developers, to the detriment of the platform. Hopefully, this is just a stop-gap.