Limitations of Using Android Emulators for Chromebook
By Tom Collins, Community Contributor - August 25, 2023
Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. It has a 70.8% share of the market in 2023. Also, there are large numbers and varieties of Android devices globally. They have different apps, hardware configurations, and user interfaces. So, it’s impossible to test all the devices when performing Android testing.
Thus, teams opt for virtual Android devices, such as Android emulators, for your testing. They eliminate the need for real Android devices.
Having said that, if you use a Chromebook to run and test with the Android emulators, you will likely face some difficulties. Owing to the low-specification hardware configuration, it becomes difficult to use an Android emulator for Chromebook.
- Overview: Using Android emulators and Chromebook
- Can you run Android emulators on Chromebook?
- Limitations and challenges of using emulators for testing on Chromebook
- Limitations of Android Emulators on Chromebook
- 1. Performance and Speed issues
- 2. Limited device and OS version availability
- 3. Incompatibility with certain features or hardware capabilities
- 4. Difficulty in replicating real-world device behavior
Overview: Using Android emulators and Chromebook
Android emulators let you test your apps on different virtual Android devices without using the physical devices. They can simulate real Android devices and set your virtual testing environment for Android devices.
- Chromebooks are laptops introduced by Google running on ChromeOS. Generally, they are moderately priced compared to other laptops.
- The Android emulators help to run ChromeOS on Chromebook and non-ChromeOS devices.
- The ADVs of the emulators help in performance testing on the Chromebook and non-ChromeOS devices.
- You can get the ChromeOS images through the SDK manager of the emulator.
Can you run Android emulators on Chromebook?
Not every Chromebook supports running Android apps as ChromeOS doesn’t have all the features to run Android apps. Thus, you must run your Android apps through an Android emulator for Chromebook. These emulators use Android Virtual Devices (AVD). It specifies the Android version and hardware characteristics to simulate your Android device and test the Android apps.
But there are limited Android emulators for Chromebooks. Ex. Android Studio, Now. gg, Scrcpy, etc. But these Android emulators also have some limitations to run on Chromebook.
Limitations and challenges of using emulators for testing on Chromebook
- The emulators become slow when you test complex or rich graphics mobile apps on Chromebook. Thus you can’t get an accurate result when performance testing from an emulator. They may identify minor performance issues but don’t consider them as bugs. As a result, you may find performance issues for testing on the actual device.
- Emulators produce a lot of false positive and false negative test results. So, the test results from the emulators need to be more reliable. Hence, the testers and developers need to retest the features for accurate results.
- You will find compatibility issues when you test an app with dependencies on APIs and third-party libraries.
- Emulators can’t give perfect results for usability testing for your mobile apps on Chromebook. They lack the capacity for simulating the UX of a device, such as – touch screen, network usage, battery consumption, etc.
Limitations of Android Emulators on Chromebook
1. Performance and Speed issues
The Android emulators run at a slow speed. Hence, you shouldn’t run the testing for processing speed, latency, stress, workload, network bandwidth, data transfer rate, etc. Even the QA teams never depend upon performance test results from an emulator.
2. Limited device and OS version availability
You will find Android emulators for a limited number of Chromebook devices. They support Chromebook 712 [C871], x360 14c, Fex 5 Chromebook, Flip C436FA, and Chromebook Enterprise.
Also, only some emulators work on the old Chrome OS versions. Most of the Android emulators for chrome OS work on the ChromeOS version made on or after 2019.
3. Incompatibility with certain features or hardware capabilities
These virtual devices can’t simulate the hardware of your mobile, such as – CPU, GPS, Wi-Fi chip, microphone, camera, memory unit, battery, USB port, etc. Also, they are incompatible with basic functionalities, such as phone calls, messaging, vibration, alarms, memo recording, etc. So, these are the huge drawbacks of an Android emulator for Chromebook.
4. Difficulty in replicating real-world device behavior
The emulators can’t replicate the user interaction of a device. A real device consists of touchpad interaction, zoom in, zoom out, scrolling, swiping, push notifications, orientations, etc. But an emulator can’t support these real-world scenarios. Thus it’s difficult to test user experience on an emulator.
Moreover, you can’t test advanced real-world features like – Geolocation, time zones, and languages.
Overcoming Emulator Limitations with BrowserStack Real Device Cloud
1. Access to a Wide Range of Real Devices
You can access 3000+ real Android, iOS, and desktop devices from the BrowserStack real device cloud. These devices are accessible from any location and at any time. Thus the cloud eliminates the cost of physical real-device lab maintenance.
2. Extensive device coverage for testing
Access latest and flagship Androif devices from the market for your testing. You can test native and hybrid mobile apps through it and get instant, reliable test results.
3. Availability of different OS and hardware configurations
The devices come with different OS, browsers, and hardware combinations. Each device in this cloud is installed with real browsers. You will get Chrome 15-75, Firefox 3-68, iOS 3-16, and more here. The cloud is constantly updated with the latest models of real devices. Moreover, it supports cross-browser and parallel testing.
4. Testing on devices with various network conditions
BrowserStack supports testing on different network conditions. When you choose default network settings, you can test each device with stable Wi-Fi connectivity. When you choose network simulation, you can reset the Wi-Fi connection to simulate the speed of your device with the predefined network profile, like 2G, 3G, 3.5G, or 4G bandwidth.
5. Simulating gestures, sensor inputs, and device interactions
It easily simulates natural gestures, such as – scroll, tap, zoom, swipe, etc. Also, it supports real-device features, such as – push notification, geolocation testing, time-zone, network simulation, and more.
1. What is the best Android emulator for Chromebook?
The Android Studio and the ARChon emulator are considered the best android emulators for Chromebook. It allows running Android APKs written on ChromeOS APKs.
2. What types of testing are not supported by an Android emulator?
You can’t perform performance testing, unit testing, beta testing, display testing, etc.
3. What is the main difference between an emulator and a real-device cloud?
An emulator can’t mimic or simulate a physical device’s user interactions, hardware configuration, and real-time conditions. However, the real device within a cloud supports all these real-time features and set-ups.