Setting up Android Emulator on Ubuntu

The following article has been adapted from the original by Çiğdem Avcı. You can find the original (Turkish) article here.

Let’s try Android on Ubuntu! For this, you must have Java environment installed. After we download the Android SDK (, we unpack the archive with the following command:

tar -xzvf android-sdk_r3-linux.tgz

The archive has been extracted into android-sdk-linux folder. Since the Android tools are under android-sdk-linux/tools, we set the PATH variable to include that folder.

export PATH

To see what’s inside the PATH variable, we type

echo $PATH

We make sure that the path which contains android-sdk-linux/tools is correct. For our experiments, we have created a separate folder named android. We will continue working in this folder. First, we navigate to this folder from the terminal.

cd android

Next, we start producing virtual phones (AVD – Android Virtual Device). Let’s create a virtual SD-Card (Secure Digital Memory Card).

mksdcard 2048M SDCARD

And now, let’s create a virtual phone.

android create avd -n CGDM_PHONE -t 2

Failed. We get an error:
Error: Target id is not valid. Use 'android list targets' to get the target ids.

We do that to see the list.

android list targets

We don’t see any lists. Maybe, we missed to install something. Let’s install if there are any updates or revisions.


We can’t connect to the URL shown on the UI. We check the “force https connection” under “Settings”. Under available packages, we start downloads related to android 2.0 which we think might be necessary. After the installation is complete, we try to create our virtual phone again.

android create avd -n CGDM_PHONE -t 2

Android 1.6 is a basic Android platform.
Do you wish to create a custom hardware profile [no]
(We press enter here)

Created AVD 'CGDM_PHONE' based on Android 1.6, with the following hardware config:

This time it worked. Now, let’s run the emulator.

emulator @CGDM_PHONE -sdcard SDCARD

Whoa! 🙂 There comes the virtual phone.

Up to this point, we learned to prepare the emulator environment. We’ll learn to use it later.

Happy coding!

Special thanks to my dear friend, Çiğdem Avcı for letting me publish her article here.