Google recently released the first-ever Android development bundle. If you've had any experience setting up a development environment for Android, you'll be glad to know these new bundled tools have streamlined the setup process. Android Developer ToolsNow, in a single download, you can set up Eclipse, the ADT, a default emulator image, and the SDK manager. The new bundle download is quite large, nearly 400MB compressed, so get ready to wait if you're not using a business-class fiber connection. Seriously, plan ahead! My first attempt to set up the new bundled tools didn't go so well. I blame my sluggish Internet connection. The compressed file was corrupt and not all contents could be extracted properly. However, I got Eclipse up and running just fine. To test the install, I created the obligatory "Hello World" app and encountered no issues. I could move between screens, update the manifest file, and preview the app. All was well until I tried to run the emulator. I could neither launch the emulator nor add new virtual devices. Don't suffer the same fate: Make sure you download over a super fast connection.

Minimum RAM Required

System requirements for the new tool bundle are now visible right under the download link. Windows, Linux, and Mac are all supported. You won't find information about minimum RAM requirements. I recommend using at least 2GB, though you'll be waiting around for the emulator to load if you're working with less than 4GB. Developing on a system with less than 2GB of RAM is not ideal, so don't waste your time and bandwidth downloading these tools if this is what you have available. If you're new to Android development and have less than 2GB of RAM on your computer, you may want to learn the basics of Android development from MIT's browser-based App Inventor, formerly Google App Inventor. There are no tools to download with this platform.

Removing Barriers

The multiple steps previously required to set up an Android environment were a steep barrier to entry for many developers coming from other fields, especially those who were unfamiliar with Eclipse IDE and the multitude of plugins available. I'm excited to see this barrier removed, since it's obvious by now that mobile development will continue to be a growing field. The new tool bundle streamlines setup and saves considerable time. Your Android Development Tool (ADT) bundle still requires a separate download and installation of the Java Development Kit (JDK 6). Be sure to download and install the JDK before the Android development tools. The JDK installation files are 60MB to around 100MB in size, depending on the platform. If you plan to run the 64-bit version of the bundle, be sure to select the 64-bit version of the Java Development Kit. The bundle is a near perfect addition to the suite of tools already available. If you haven't set up your development environment, consider installing.

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Image: Roman Nurik