Running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) in Virtualbox

[German edition]Android 4.1 – “Jelly Bean” – is the latest release of Google`s Android OS (I have blogged here about that). Currently, only a few devices (Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy S3  or Galaxy Note 2) are shipped with Android 4.1. This article discusses, how to run Android 4.1 on PCs using Virtualbox.


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Slow emulator, and no updates to Android 4.1

Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) was released end of June 2012 at Google I/O conference. But most vendors don’t offer Android 4.1 updates for their devices. Also porting Android 4.1 on x86 systems takes some time. I haven’t found a port at android-x86.org.

People, who are interested in experimenting with Android 4.1 – aka Jelly Bean – but haven’t a Android 4.1 devices has been restricted to Android SDK emulator build of Android 4.1. This Quemu emulator build was terrible slow on x86 systems (I’ve used the emulator for screenshots shown in this article).

End of August Intel announced a Quemu x86 SDK build of Jelly Bean – but experimenting with this build wasn’t overwhelming. I failed, to port it to a another virtual machine and the Quemu build was also terrible slow on my machines.

A build for Virtualbox at least

At least, a comment of my reader Volker (in this German article) was pointing me into the right direction. Daniel Fages has released at 2. August 2012 his first Build for Virtualbox. I noticed Dan as the maintainer of BuildDroid.org project (Dan was forced from Lukas Film to rename his project to AndroVM). Dan also managed to implement an ARM emulator into Android x86 (I’ve blogged about that here).

A few project details

Dan’s release of Android x86 for Virtualbox is based on the AOSP 4.1.1_r4 developers branch and is using Linux kernel 3.4. Daniel had to use some tricks to port Android 4.1 (because of bugs in AOSP and a changed audio hardware API). Dan ported the Nexus 7 audio library to Virtualbox environment.

Daniel Fages images can be found on his download page as ova files. Here are the androVM-4.1.1_r4-20121002 downloads:

  • vbox86t version : androVM_vbox86t_4.1.1_r4-20121002.ova
  • vbox86tp version : androVM_vbox86tp_4.1.1_r4-20121002.ova
  • vbox86p version : androVM_vbox86p_4.1.1_r4-20121002.ova
  • vbox86t with Google Apps : androVM_vbox86t_4.1.1_r4-20121002-gapps.ova (installed with gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip from Cyanogen)
  • vbox86t with Google Apps and Houdini : androVM_vbox86t_4.1.1_r4-20121002-gapps-houdini.ova (installed with gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip from Cyanogen and houdini extracted from Intel/Orange smartphone running Gingerbread)

Files with character “t” are builds for tablet pc variants, while the letter “p” stands for “phone”. I’ve downloaded the ova file including gapps and houdini.

Run a build in Virtualbox

Dan discourage the use of VirtualBox 4.2 for the moment, it seems many of us get very poor performance using buildroid/androVM images on this version. I’ve tested his build in Virtualbox 4.1.18 (Windows 7 host on a QuadCore system). This build “is fast as an arrow” (compared to the Quemu emulator imges).

To create a VM in Virtualbox, it’s sufficient to use the file menu and import the ova file as an applicance.   Below is the VM configuration shown in my German Virtualbox.


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The build uses three vdi discs: one system-VDI, one data partition an one for a SD card. This should easy further updates.

Tips to manage the VM

After booting the VM, an Android lock screen should be shown. Use a mouse to unlock.

  • If no mouse pointer is shown, use Machine menu and select a command like Deactivate mouse pointer integration (this options is deactivated in my environment by default).
  • Use the right Ctrl-key to release mouse pointer (the VM comes without mouse pointer integration support).
  • To shutdown Android use the commands Machine/Close – or install a shutdown app. Additional hints may be found at [iv] (only in German).
  • If the lock screen can’t be unlocked with a mouse drag, press ESC key and try again.

After unlocking the Android home screen should be visible. Handling will be the same as in Ice Cream Sandwich.

The icon in the upper right corner shows the Apps page. Here is the Apps page with pre-installed apps and also some apps I’ve installed from Play Store (Angry Birds and File Expert).

Tip: There is an app App AndroVM Configuration that provides options to change screen resolution and also allows to select keyboard. There is a note from Dan: After releasing the OVAs, I realized that when you keep standard display parameters on the tablet versions (1024×600 with 160 dpi), you will get a “phone interface” (no status bar, notifications on the top of the screen, …). You have to upgrade to a higher resolution (1024×768 at least) to get the “tablet interface”.

The Play Store [DF-BPA-13] error

During my eperiments I’ve got the Error Fehler beim Verarbeiten des Kaufs [DF-BPA-13]. Also installing other apps causes this error.

Searching the net I found several pages (see, here and here), proposing to cleare Google Cache or delete Google account and add it again. You can use the app settings and select Apps and then “Play Store”. Then a button Clean cache (or similar) should be selectable.

I’ve clicked the three vertical dots in the upper right corner shown after selecting the Apps category. Then I was able to select a menu command Reset app settings.

Afterward I was able to use Play Store for App installing. But I got the error again – will remove my Google account and add it again within the next days. This comments thread also discusses the topic.

Similar articles:
a: Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean – im Überblick
b: Android 4.1 x86 (Jelly Bean), was gibt’s neues?
c: Installing ARM-Emulator on Android x86 4 RC2

i: Ice Cream Sandwich-Testdrive in Virtualbox
ii: Test: Ice Cream Sandwich in Virtualbox Teil II
iii: Android x86 in Virtualbox als Device Emulator I
iv: Android x86 in Virtualbox als Device Emulator II

Links
1: AndroVM Jelly Bean release


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5 Kommentare zu Running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) in Virtualbox

  1. volker sagt:

    @günter
    the more recent version by AndroVM, featuring software / hardware OpenGL support, to my opinion represents a big step forward.
    Enjoy!
    volker

  2. Günter Born sagt:

    @Volker: Thx, I noticed it yesterday – but currently all my ressources are consumed by Windows 8 community support stuff – but it’s on my agenda. Will probably blogging about that.

  3. andy sagt:

    <
    I cannot install Viber on androVM tablet version. It says something like ‘no supported device detected’, and the device it’s detecting is the ‘Android VM…’. Can you provide an ‘ova’ file with Viber preinstalled? Thanks!

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