Google updates Android SDK Tools with native x86 emulator support

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) released Revision 17 of its Android SDK Tools, a downloadable component including the complete set of development and debugging tools for the Android SDK. The latest revision touts new features and bug fixes highlighted by the addition of emulator support for the x86 family of instruction set architectures based on the Intel 8086 CPU.

"Thanks to contributions to AOSP from Intel, the emulator now supports running x86 system images in virtualization mode on Windows and Mac OS X," writes Android SDK Tech Lead Xavier Ducrohet on the Android Developers Blog. "This allows the emulator running at near native speed. The drivers are available through the SDK Manager." The emulator also adds experimental support for multi-touch input through a tethered Android device.

Android SDK Tools r17 also brings changes for the Lint static checker, which analyzes Android projects for a variety of issues around correctness, security, performance, usability and accessibility. New Lint additions include a check for API calls that require a version of Android higher than the minimum supported version; developers also can use the new @TargetApi annotation to specify local overrides for conditionally loaded code. Also new: 40 additional Lint rules including checks for performance, XML layouts, manifest and file handling; functions for suppressing Lint warnings in Java code and in XML files; and improved HTML and XML reporting and Eclipse integration.

Google also has made improvements to the build systems for Eclipse and Ant, adding strict dependency support for third-party Jar files alongside support for custom views with custom attributes in libraries. Layouts using custom attributes must use the namespace URI instead of the URI that includes the app package name, Ducrohet states, explaining "This URI is replaced with the app specific one at build time."

The Android SDK Tools r17 also adds a feature enabling developers to run some code only in debug mode. "Builds now generate a class called BuildConfig containing a DEBUG constant that is automatically set according to your build type," Ducrohet explains. "You can check the (BuildConfig.DEBUG) constant in your code to run debug-only functions such as outputting debug logs."

For more information on the changes, visit the SDK Tools Release Notes and ADT Release Notes.

In related news, Google is overhauling sales reporting on its Google Play digital storefront, which recently replaced its Android Market. New Estimated Sales Reports promise Android developers improved visibility into ongoing product sales, depicting complete transaction details of recent sales and refunds for all products including both in-app products and paid apps. Each report is cumulative for the current payout period and is updated nightly with the details of recent transactions.

For more:
- read this Android Developers Blog entry
- read this Android Developers Blog entry

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