Android Studio is based on JetBrains Intelli-J which is a great if not the greatest Java/Kotlin IDE. An IDE is more than a text editor it's a complete development environment, like Visual Studio (not Code) or NetBeans.

Android Studio is a free Java based Application. The caveats are that it's fairly large and can be overwhelming and even slow. However, the tool set is second to none for Android Development.

Last, it is cross platform for

  • Linux (Thank you),
  • Windows
  • OSX
Snarky remark: Thanks Apple... For always controlling your users in your precious ecosystem and charging your developers for anything and everything including any sale ever made in App Store.. I'll stop here and save the rant.

Quick Overview

Here's a simple breakdown; You can use a Virtual Device or your own Hardware. I'm in favor of the hardware yet there is nothing wrong with the emulated versions

The only requirement for an emulated Android Device is that you must have an Intel CPU with Virtualization enabled in the bios.
  • You need an SDK (Software Development Kit) for Android to write your Java/Kotlin Native Code.
  • (Option A) You might need an Android Virtual Device if you are not running this from your own device (such as a cell phone or tablet plugged into USB).
  • (Option B) You can use your own hardware device (phone/tablet) through USB. This will run much faster than any emulated Android Virtual Device. (More on this below)

Start with Versatile SDK

Android Studio uses a lot of resources so considering you have to install an Android SDK (Software Development Kit) I would stick to only one for now to save space and keep it simple.

For example, to develop in a more compatible version for devices (reach more people) you can use Lollypop which is around 500 MB. The Lollypop SDK will work with 86% or more devices. Yet, Android Pie at the of writing is new will not support as many devices.

This is found in Tools > SDK Manager.

Setup an Android Emulator

While working on your application you can use a Virtual Device (Emulated from your computer). Android Virtual Devices only work when you have Intel-Virtualization enabled (in your BIOS) which is usually not on my default.

This does not work with AMD Virtualization (VTX) last I checked, which forces you to use your own hardware. I have never tried the Ryzen series, so perhaps it's possible?

This is found under: Tools > AVD Manager.

Setup an Emulated Virtual Device

Option A is to Create your emulated Android Device through the VDK Manager. It's not a big deal what you select so much, but I would customize the hardware to suite you so it's not terribly slow.

Here is a screenshot of what I used. I first edited the Hardware Profile to have more memory to 2 GB, and remove a few things I don't use. I only have 4 GB total on my laptop.  
1. Install SDK (Tools > SDK Manager)
  1. Install SDK (I used Lollipop) from Tools > SDK Manager. After that is complete the next steps are under Tools > AVD Manager.
2. Customize Hardware, Then Choose the Device Image
2. (Tools > AVD Manager) Make sure the create a new Hardware Profile first so that we can get the most out of our computer resources. (You can make more than one Virtual Device to see what works for you)
3. Configure Hardware
3. These are the settings I turned off or modified as I won't use them for my project.
4. Select Android System Image
5. Finalize Options
5. The only change I made here was to use Hardware for Graphics Acceleration which I recommend.
6. Test your Device here.
7. Android Emulation
7. You Emulated Device should be working. The first boot takes my Laptop about 1 minute. You must wait for your project (In Android Studio) to appear as well, this took about 30 seconds. – From here, we can freely edit in Android studio and see live changes.

Setup your Hardware Virtual Device

Option B is to use your own device. It will run great.

  1. In Android you must enable Developer options. This is done by going to your phone Settings > About Phone and click your Android Version tag 7 Times. A popup should appear to let you know you've unlocked Developer Mode.
  2. In Developer Options, turn on "Enable USB Debugging".
  3. Plug in your phone so that your computer recognizes it (I can't help you here).
  4. Once recognized, attempt to run a sample application with the Green Play Icon within Android studio.
  5. The Application should come up on your phone, give it about a minute.
  6. All changes will be in real time and you are good to go.


If you were successful that's great. There are a lot of tutorials for Android and Android Studio development. If you get quite good at android you can switch to an editor such as Visual Studio Code (The best ever made in my opinion). You can do everything you need besides the GUI XML Builder.

If you are wondering what theme am I using it's Material from Settings > Plugins. Only a few items are customized.