When it comes to software development, there are two very distinct camps on the subject of tools: those who prefer to keep it simple with just a text editor and a compiler, and then those who go straight for a fully-featured IDE with all the bells and whistles. For more than a decade, the undisputed champion of IDEs is Microsoft with its assorted versions of Visual Studio. Having come from years of work on Visual Studio, nothing pained me more than the first (several) times I started up Eclipse.
Remember that guy who coaxed the Android version of Minecraft to run on his Samsung Gear Live? It looks like YouTube user Corbin Davenport has found a new hobby. In addition to running the ancient PC shooter Doom on Android Wear (respect the classics), he's now managed to get Windows 95 to boot on the thing.
Warning: techno music.
Well, sort of. Windows 95 is running in ADosBox, one of several DOS emulators available on the Google Play Store.
You've got to respect the classics. And since the developers (or rights owners) of games like Civilization, Starcraft, and Age of Empires aren't releasing their classics on Android, or they're turning them into twisted versions of the originals, strategy fans need an alternative. Enter ExaGear, an emulator designed to let those fans play at least some of the classic PC strategy games on Android, complete with controls adapted for precision.
If you couldn't make it to Google I/O, and thus couldn't get one of the first Android TV units as part of the developer swag, you can still start developing your apps for the platform's retail debut later in 2014. Google has included Android TV modules in the official Android SDK, underneath the Android L (API 20) package. That includes an emulator specifically for TV, so you should be able to build and test apps without any extra hardware.
Intel's progress into the Android ecosystem hasn't exactly been earth-shattering. The number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an ATOM CPU still number in the single digits, making the x86 architecture a fairly low priority for app developers. In addition, Intel's emulator images have always lacked support for the Google APIs, leaving developers without the ability to test common staples like Google Maps or push messaging. Fortunately, that issue was recently rectified with KitKat as Google and Intel have finally shipped an x86 system image with Google API support.
Just about a year ago we reported that the popular multi-platform retro gaming emulator RetroArch had been published to the Play Store. Apparently Google took exception to this, as they've done with a seemingly random assortment of game emulators - some have been viciously torn out of the Play Store, some have been left alone, and Google isn't talking about why it picks one over the other. In any case, RetroArch is back, at least for the moment.
We featured the DraStic Nintendo DS emulator way back when it launched and came away impressed. Version 2.2 of the app is probably the biggest update yet, adding a host of forward-looking features that should improve both performance and overall gaming satisfaction. Android 4.4 users in particular will be happy to hear that DraStic now supports Android Runtime (ART).
Those of you with a MOGA controller can now use it natively with DraStic, no root or workaround required.
Android emulator fans, meet you new best friend. Yesterday the DraStic Nintendo DS emulator was published to the Play Store, for the admittedly high price of $7.99. It's not the first DS emulator for Android, but it's far and away the best - the combination of smooth performance (on sufficient hardware) and a stupefying amount of options to adapt the DS ergonomics makes it an easy recommendation.
Most of the existing DS emulators are based on code for Windows programs, making them unbearably slow on Android.
I have a confession to make: most of the programs you might want to run on this emulator were written before I was born. But if you're the kind of seasoned geek who really did watch the original Star Wars in theaters (and watched it in Europe), you might just remember having an Amstrad brand computer in your basement. Developer Kokak (who we've featured before) has released Droid-CPC, a full emulator for the Amstrad line of PCs.
Those of you who run Linux or Unix will be familiar with Wine, perhaps the best-known solution for running some Windows programs on open-source desktop operating systems. The long-running project is a staple of the Linux community. In a presentation at the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) 2013 in Brussels, Wine creator Alexandre Julliard confirmed spoke on an ARM-based version of the software and showed a brief demo of Wine running on Android.