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Android Lollipop for Visual Studio

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The preview of Visual Studio 2015 has been updated to include an emulator for Android Lollipop, also known as Android 5.0. Along with the new SDK, Visual Studio also gained “OpenGL ES support, multi-touch input, and advanced camera simulation”.

The Android Emulator is based on Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtual machine platform for the x86 architecture. Hyper-V is also used for emulating Windows Phone devices. When launching the emulator you’ll need to choose between KitKat (Android 4.4) and Lollipop (Android 5.0). Both phone and tablet modes are supported.

In terms of development platforms, VS 2015 will support developing and debugging Android applications written in C++, JavaScript/TypeScript with Cordova, and C# with Xamarin.

OpenGL ES is supported through version 2.0. In order to ensure high performance, the Android emulator forwards OpenGL ES calls to the host machines GPU via DirectX. It should be noted that while the emulator stops at ES 2.0, Android 5 itself goes all the way up to ES3.1.

In terms of touch input, John Kemnetz writes,

When running the emulator, you can now select between “Single Point Input” and “Multi-touch Input.” Selecting “Multi-touch Input” will overlay three dots. The large outer two dots act as two touch points for pinching and zooming and the inner dot controls the origin for the touch points. If you’re using the emulator on a touchscreen you can also use your fingers to directly interact with the emulator screen.

The Android emulator is available in Visual Studio 2015 CTP 6.

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