In October, Android Studio 3.0 was released to the stable channel with improved support for the Kotlin language, Android Things, and other new features. A major upgrade to the Android Emulator was seen around the same time, which went out to developers on Android Studio's canary channel. This version of Android Emulator was recently released to the stable channel with the Android Tools team posting about the many improvements found in the update, the first being Quick Boot.
Quick Boot operates like a snapshot of features found on some mainstream virtual machine platforms. Rather than performing a cold boot, a snapshot can be recalled to the state it was in prior to being closed, similar to waking a device from sleep mode. According to Google, the six-second startup time is dependent on underlying system specs and performance but any computer should see faster boot times.
Play Store Support has also been added to Android Emulator. One obstacle when developing apps with in-app purchases, or anything which requires the Play Store API, is developers having to switch to a physical device to test them. The official emulator images weren't shipped with a version of the Play Store, meaning apps had to be sideloaded while some Google Play services weren't available at all. The Google Play Store app and services now include emulator images for API 24 (Nougat) and above which are now Android CTS (Compatibility Test Suite) compliant.
A Google blog post points out that Android Emulator is more efficiently managing RAM usage through Linux and Mac hypervisors and a new version of Intel HAXM on Windows. Additionally, there are optimizations to CPU and I/O performance and improved OpenGL ES 3.0 support.
Other features added include simulated WiFi connectivity (as opposed to only simulated cellular), drag and drop installation for APKs and copying for other files, Google Cast support, cross-platform copy/paste and 2-finger pinch just to name a few. You can check out Google's blog post for the full listing.
The latest emulator (v27.0.2) is currently available if you've been using the Android Studio stable channel, just update through Android Studio. If you're currently using one of the earlier-access channels, you should have already been prompted to update the emulator.
Do you plan on checking out the latest version of Android Emulator?