Following a request from some colleagues on the long-term preservation of mobile apps, I’m trying to get up to date on the current state of emulation of mobile devices. I was wondering if anyone here has done any work on this?
At the moment I’m mainly looking into Android (as far as I understand emulation options for iOS are still pretty much non-existent, aside from the iOS SDK simulator, which only runs on a Mac, and the Corellium service).
Over the last week I’ve been running some tests myself with a number of emulation/virtualization approaches:
Android-x86 + VirtualBox
Android-x86 + QEMU
Android Emulator (part of Android Studio)
Anbox (“a container-based approach to boot a full Android system on a regular GNU/Linux system like Ubuntu”, this is not rally emulation or even virtualization, but more alike to how Wine works for running Windows applications on Linux systems)
For all of the above environments side-loaded 2 apps from locally downloaded APK packages (selected because they are of particular interest to colleagues at the KB) using the Android Debug Bridge tool, and then tried to launch them. A blog post with more details will follow (hopefully next week), but the preliminary conclusion is that none of the approaches I tested is really adequate. The Android Emulator from Android Studio showed the most promising (but still not perfect) results.
As I was ranting a bit about this on Twitter, Euan Cochrane suggested people on this forum might know more about this. As I don’t want to re-invent the wheel here, any helpful suggestions or pointers are welcome!