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Android Emulator Container Scripts

This is a set of minimal scripts to run the emulator in a container for various systems such as Docker, for external consumption. The scripts are compatible with both Python version 2 and 3.


The following Python libraries are required:


They can be installed via pip install urlfetch; pip install jinja2 (or use your favorite method).


We have two scripts that work together to provide emulator docker images: sets up a Docker image source directory with a Dockerfile that is buildable and runnable as a Docker image, given a Linux emulator zip file, a system image zip file, and a docker repo name (currently unused; any name will do). lists a set of publically available Android Emulator system images and emulators along with their URLs, which makes it easier to download zip files for user with

Obtaining URLs for emulator/system image zip files



will query the currently published Android SDK and output URLs for the zip files of:

  • Available and currently Docker-compatible system images
  • Currently published and advertised emulator binaries

For each system image, the API level, variant, ABI, and URL are displayed. For each emulator, the update channel (stable vs canary), version, host os, and URL are displayed.

Example output:

SYSIMG android 21 L x86_64
SYSIMG android 22 L x86_64
SYSIMG android 23 M x86_64
SYSIMG android 24 N x86_64
SYSIMG android 25 N x86_64
SYSIMG android 26 O x86_64
SYSIMG android 27 O x86_64
SYSIMG android 28 P x86_64
SYSIMG android 28 Q x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 21 L x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 22 L x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 23 M x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 24 N x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 25 N x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 26 O x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 28 P x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis 28 Q x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis_playstore 28 P x86_64
SYSIMG google_apis_playstore 28 Q x86_64
EMU stable 29.0.11 windows
EMU stable 29.0.11 macosx
EMU stable 29.0.11 linux
EMU stable 28.0.25 windows
EMU canary 29.0.12 windows
EMU canary 29.0.12 macosx
EMU canary 29.0.12 linux

One can then use tools like wget or a browser to download a desired emulator and system image. After the two are obtained, we can build a Docker image.

Building the Docker image: Setting up the source dir

Given an emulator zip file and a system image zip file, we can build a directory that can be sent to docker build via the following invocation of

python <emulator-zip> <system-image-zip> <docker-repo-name(unused currently)> [docker-src-dir (getcwd()/src by default)]

This places all the right elements to run a docker image, but does not build, run or publish yet. A Linux emulator zip file must be used.

To build the Docker image corresponding to these emulators and system images:

docker build <docker-src-dir, either ./src or specified argument to>

A Docker image ID will output; save this image ID.

Running the Docker image

We currently assume that KVM will be used with docker in order to provide CPU virtualization capabilties to the resulting Docker image.

We provide the following run script:

./ <docker-image-id>

It does the following:

docker run -e "ADBKEY=$(cat ~/.android/adbkey)" --privileged  --publish 5556:5556/tcp --publish 5555:5555/tcp <docker-image-id>
  • Sets up the ADB key, assuming one exists at ~/.android/adbkey
  • Uses --privileged to have CPU acceleration
  • Starts the emulator in the docker image with its gRPC service, forwarding the host ports 5556/5554 to container ports 5554/5554 respectively.
  • The gRPC service is used to communicate with the running emulator inside the container.

Communicating with the emulator in the container


We forward the port 5555 for adb access to the emulator running inside the container (TODO: make this configurable per container).

To enable ADB access, run the following adb command, assuming no other emulators/devices connected:

adb connect localhost:5555

Make the emulator accessible on the web

This repository also contains an example that demonstrates how you can use docker to make the emulator accessible through the web. This is done by composing the following set of docker containers:

  • Envoy, an edge and service proxy: The proxy is responsible for the following:
    • Offer TLS (https) using a self signed certificate
    • Redirect traffic on port 80 (http) to port 443 (https)
    • Act as a gRPC proxy for the emulator.
    • Redirect other requests to the Nginx component which hosts a React application.
  • Nginx, a webserver hosting a compiled React App
  • The emulator with a gRPC endpoint and a WebRTC video bridge.

Important Notice!

In order to run this sample and be able to interact with the emulator you must keep the following in mind:

  • The demo has two methods to display the emulator.
    1. Create an image every second, which is displayed in the browser. This approach will always work, but gives poor performance.
    2. Use WebRTC to display the state of the emulator in real time. This will only work if you are able to create a peer to peer connection to the server hosting the emulator. This is usually not a problem when your server is publicly visible, or if you are running the emulator on your own intranet.
  • There is no Authorization/Authentication. Anyone who can reach the website will be able to interact with the emulator. Which means they can control the emulator and run arbitrary code inside your emulator.


  • You will need to install docker-compose
  • You must have port 80 and 443 available. The docker containers will create an internal network and expose the http and https ports.
  • You will need to create an emulator docker image, as described in the documentation above.

Running the emulator on the web

Once you have taken care of the steps above you can create the containers as follows:

docker-compose -f js/docker/docker-compose.yaml build

After building the containers, you can launch the emulator as follows

docker-compose -f js/docker/docker-compose.yaml up

Point your browser to localhost. You will likely get a warning due to the usage of the self signed certifcate. Once you accept the cert you should see the emulator in action

Modifying the demo

Details on how to modify can React application can be found here

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