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Android SDK on a Netbook


May 18 2011

As I mentioned in a previous blog, many feel the Intel N455 chip commonly found in low-end netbooks may be underpowered. For example, they are sure that it is not fast enough to perform Android development. But, is it so?

Having downloaded and installed the Android SDK in my 32-bit Windows starter setup, my first conclusion was that running the Android emulator is far too slow to do any meaningful Android software development on a N455-based netbook.

Then I remembered that the Atom N455 is a 64-bit capable chip. So, I brushed off the dust of my 64-bit Linux partition, installed the 32-bit compatible libraries (the Android SDK hasn't been compiled for 64-bit Linux yet), installed a 64-bit version of Java, and fired up the Linux Android SDK.

To say that it is faster than the Windows version is a vast understatement. Granted, the emulated Android platform is still sluggish, but it appears fast enough to develop and debug software on.

So, yes, Android SDK development is a "killer app" that runs better in Linux than it does in Windows.

As a result, I've been spending much of today getting Linux up to snuff (e-book reader, multiple browsers, Skype--now available for 64-bit Linux, etc.).

I don't think Linux will ever be my main desktop again, but it is now my desktop when I am developing Android applications.

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