Ever since I started developing Android apps, I've been baffled by the absence of the actual Android Market in the Android SDK. None of the virtual devices created for the emulator have the Market anywhere in the vicinity. Maybe Google is trying to reserve it for actual devices, so that you don't go rating or trying out apps on something that isn't even a real phone, but it makes it quite inconvenient for us developers because we can't easily install our favorite apps, such as the Astro file manager or DiskUsage. With necessary limitations in place (like disabling the rating functionality), Google should have included the Market app as part of the SDK to make the emulator experience closer to real life. Alas, for months I've lived without.

Knowing the persistence of the Android community, however, I knew that someday somebody would come up with an easy way to port the Market app over to the emulator. Today, I'm here to tell you that it has been done. Varunkumar Nagarajan of Varun's ScratchPad, with some help from XDA, has put together an excellent tutorial showing the steps needed - all 8 of them. Here is the gist:

  • Download and install the Android SDK, which gives you access to the emulator. Android developers should already have this step done.
  • Create a virtual device and perform a few tweaks to prevent freezing in the future Market downloads and to allow writing to /system
  • Install the Market app and perform a few more tweaks

The end result - a working Android Market:

image image image

Proceed to Varun's blog for the full write-up.

Thanks, Russ