If you are keen to get your hands on the latest Android 4.3, but your phone’s manufacturer/carrier is not ready to push the update to your phone yet, you can try it out on your desktop. You doesn’t have to install the Android SDK or emulator. As long as you have VirtualBox in your computer, you can run Android 4.3 in a virtual machine.
We have previously shown you how to do so with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), but the build back then was not working well and the WiFi module is not working. This latest Android 4.3 build is more complete and a lot of things just work out of the box, even when you run it as a LiveCD.
1. Download the Android 4.3 x86 iso from its Google code page. As of this post, the build is “android-x86-4.3-20130725.iso”.
2. Make sure you have VirtualBox installed on your computer. Click the “New” button. Enter a name for this virtual machine and select “Linux” for the Type and “Linux 2.6” for the version.
3. Allocate a minimum of 256MB RAM for this VM. For this tutorial, I allocated 1GB of RAM to it.
4. You can create a new virtual hard drive, or use existing one. For new virtual hard drive, I would recommend a minimum of 4GB for storage space.
5. Once you have created the virtual machine, select it from the list and click the “Settings” button.
6. Under the Storage section, select the CD/DVD drive slot and add the Android 4.3 iso to the list.
7. Under the Network section, you can select NAT for the Network Adaptor. Some people have reported success with the “Bridged Adaptor” mode as well, but I have not tried it. Click “OK” to return to the main screen.
Installing Android 4.3
Once you are ready, click the Start button. This will boot up the virtual machine.
1. On the boot screen, use the arrow key to select “Installation – Install Android -x86 to hard disk”. (If you just want to test it out, select “Run Android -x86 without installation”)
2. Select “Create/Modify partitions”.
3. Assuming that you have assigned 8GB to the virtual hard drive, you should see 8587.20MB of Free Space in the screen. Use the right arrow key to navigate to “New” and press Enter. Select “Primary” on the next prompt.
4. You should see a screen like this:
Select the “Bootable” option to make the partition bootable. Next, select “Write” and press Enter. Type “Yes” when prompted. Lastly, select “Quit” to quit the cfdisk (Partition manager).
5. Back to the main screen, select the partition that you have just created and click OK.
6. When prompted, format the partition to “ext3”.
7. Select “Yes” to install bootloader GRUB.
8. Select “Yes” to install /system directory as read-write. At the end of the installation, you should see a screen like this:
Running Android 4.3 in VirtualBox
Reboot the virtual machine. On the first bootup, it will take some time for the OS to load and initialize. Subsequent boot up will be faster. Once you are in the Welcome screen, follow the Setup wizard to setup Android 4.3.
At this point, you might want to disable the mouse integration so that the mouse cursor will appear in the screen. This will make the navigation process much easier.
While setting it up, it might not be able to detect any WiFi network. You can safely skip the WiFi setup as it won’t affect your Internet connection. It is also not necessary to sign in to your Google account. It will take you to the Home screen once the setup is completed.
Screenshots of Android 4.3 running in VirtualBox
Web browsing. Yeah, the Internet is working!
The User Profile configuration section in Settings.
About Android section in Settings.
One thing though, the sound driver doesn’t perform well in virtual machine, so don’t bother to watch Youtube videos, or even listen to music in the virtual machine. Obviously, the Camera and the Phone app don’t work as well.
That’s it. If you face any difficulty in setting this up, feel free to let us know in the comments. I will be here to help.