Exploring Android Studio – Android SDK Tools

Welcome to Part 4 of this review of the Pluralsight course Exploring Android Studio
by Larry Schiefer


Larry Schiefer

Larry Schiefer is the CTO and co-founder of HiQES, a mobile, embedded, and application development service company. Larry has over 16 years of experience leading teams, and designing and developing high performance and robust software, and is a Google GDE.

Android SDK Tools

The Android SDK Manager

The SDK Manager provides us with a UI driven mechanism for maintaining our SDK components.
It also has a command line option, but this is not covered in this clip.

Larry demonstrates the User Interface: how to load it, understanding all of the form elements and what they tell you about your settings, and installing new packages.

I found that the welcome screen has changed a lot since this course was recorded, but you can find SDK manager via the Configure drop down, and then clicking Launch Standalone SDK Manager

Larry highlights several important packages and explains what they mean.

Here is the Android Developer Dashboard page,  which shows the current breakdown of usage of different Android versions.

We hear that the repository package is a local Maven repository used by Android Studio, and that we will learn more about that in the Maven module later in the course.

Larry also explains the importance of installing Intel HAXM and how to do that.

Next, we see the Manage Add-on Sites item which is found under the Tools menu

I could not find a TextSwitcher sample project in version 2.1 of Android Studio using the technique that Larry shows, but I did a search for TextSwitcher and found a Java file at


I discovered that the Android Studio v2.1 welcome screen shows the option “Import an Android code sample” and this is easier than finding and copying across files. The TextSwitcher is found in the Ui dropdown list.

Further instructions on sameples can also be found here: http://developer.android.com/samples/index.html

The Android Virtual Device Manager

The AVD Manager is another key component of our debug system.

Larry takes us through the Device Definitions tab, and briefly looks at how to create our own device definitions, but says we should not normally need to do this.

We then see how to create a new Android Virtual Device.

Your Android Virtual Devices are located under the users directory for the operating system, e.g. C:\USers\Schiefer\.android\avd

Larry also shows us several ways to reach the AVD Manager from the main Android Studio window

Android SDK Location

The Android SDK is available in 3 different forms:

  • Bundled with Android Studio
  • Bundled with Android Developer Tools (ADT)
  • Stand alone installation

Larry highlights that each of these is a separate installation, so you could end up with multiple installations of the SDK on your machine.

We then see a tour of the various files and directories that were installed to C:\Program Files (x86)\android\android-studio\sdk

Along the way, Larry explains the aapt, aidl, dx, dexdump and llvm-rs-cc tools.

These seem to have changed at some point between release 19 and release 23 because it was not found in the same location on my PC and the following web page now shows different information than in this clip:


Larry mentions that the systrace tool will be covered later on in this course.

SDK Command Line Tools

This clip describes the graphics asset tools Draw 9-path etc1tool.


This is a monkey

Larry also explains the sqlite3 utility and the UI/Application Exerciser Monkey tool, a.k.a. the monkey tool

You can use the Monkey to stress-test applications that you are developing, in a random yet repeatable manner.

Despite the similar name, the monkeyrunner tool is not related to the monkey tool. Read more about this here

Finally, Larry describes zipalign, an archive alignment tool that you can read about here

For more information on all of the SDK Command Line tools see

Installing Intel’s HAXM Support

The Android emulators are managed by the ABD manager.

In order to get significantly better emulator performance on Intel chips, it is necessary to install Intel’s Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM)

Modern Intel hardware includes virtualization technology, and this is what is used to accelerate the emulator.

This software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and Larry provides more details on this.

Larry demonstrates how to install this software from android-studio/sdk/extras/intel/Hardware_Accelerated_Execution_Manager

Installing the Google USB Driver

Information on using Hardware Devices is available from Google here and information on the Google USB driver is here.

Larry shows you how to uncover the developer options easter egg on your Nexus, and then enable USB debugging.

Next he describes how to update your driver software on Windows.

After this is done, you should see Android Composite ADB Interface listed in your Device Manager.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s