This information is a little hard to find on the Internet. This is how to install Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in VirtualBox, in a "do it yourself" way (installing from an ISO image). There are some people who have made pre-installed VirtualBox images, but one problem you may run into going that route is that the Android serial number will match everybody else who's using the same image as you, since Android generates this number on its first boot.
So this means using one of the Android-x86 images from there won't get you too far because audio and networking won't work. Fortunately, somebody has put together an ISO image that's been custom tailored to VirtualBox.
I don't remember where I found this ISO image; if it's yours, leave me a comment and I'll edit this post. I found the ISO here: android-x86 VirtualBox/VMWare support (thanks @jakimfett!)
I have a copy of this ISO hosted here: android-x86-vm-20120130.iso (244MB). This ISO works much better.
Make sure you add the SATA Controller if it does not appear, when you setup the virtual box and then add the ISO image and virtual disk image to this.It worked for me as listed above (IDE CD drive, SATA hard disk), but this is something to keep in mind if you have any issues booting the CD or installing it to disk.
If you try and add the ISO image and virtual disk image to the IDE Controller this will not work at.
This information maybe useful to someone making this mistake.
The Escape key on your keyboard corresponds to the Back key in Android. The context menu key on your keyboard corresponds to the Menu button in Android (the context menu key is usually next to the right Windows key).
To power off the VM, press HostKey+H. This will cause Android to pop up the shutdown dialog that you'd expect on a real phone. You can also use the "Machine->Send Shutdown Signal" to do the same.
On a real Android device that's been rooted and flashed with a custom ROM, you'd install the Google apps by flashing them in recovery mode. But you can't get into recovery mode on VirtualBox. Thus, the method for installing the Google Apps is kinda sketchy, but it works (and if you know of a better way, feel free to tell me).
You'll need a file with a name like "gapps-ics-20120304-signed.zip". These are the Google apps (the date part might be different). You can Google them, but I have a copy of them here to download too.
You don't really need the entire Google Apps file, actually. Just the "system" folder inside the zip file. Create a new tar file of the "system" folder so that it will be easy to get it into your Android device. I have a prepared "system.tar.gz" for you if you just want to use mine.
$ cd /sdcard/Download $ tar -xzvf system.tar.gz $ su # cd /sdcard/Download # cp -rf system/* /system/Pay special attention to the
cp -rfcommand. Make sure the slashes and *'s are in the right places.
Note: in my experience, the Market app will be somewhat unstable. When you start the app, it will Force Quit after 10 or 15 seconds. However, if you're fast enough you should be able to quickly search for a specific app you'd like and begin the download process before Market crashes, and the app will continue to download and install regardless.
I imagine that the unorthodox way of installing the Google Apps might be partly to blame for the Market being unstable. The other Google apps seem to work fine though.
The general steps are as follows. Substitute
1024x768 with whatever resolution you want. You can add multiple video modes by changing "CustomVideoMode1" to be "CustomVideoMode2", etc.
VBoxManage setextradata "Android ICS" "CustomVideoMode1" "1024x768x32"
UVESA_MODE=1024x768to the end of the boot arguments (make sure to hit Space first), and press Enter.
Your mileage may vary.
Today I finally decided to break up with T-Mobile and take my number and Nexus One phone to AT&T, as a prepaid phone (tl;dr - I'm tired of cell phone ISPs locking people in to contracts and then they can't do anything about it when the ISP changes their plans around).
My Nexus One was originally for T-Mobile's network, so it doesn't work with the 3G on AT&T's... but that's fine because my AT&T plan doesn't include data. But, my phone can still use AT&T's Edge network.
I don't want any random background apps using the Edge network and costing me usage fees when I'm out and about. But, if I disable Mobile Data altogether, picture messaging (MMS) stops working too. So after a lot of searching around I seem to have found a way to disable the mobile network for all apps, but still allow MMS to be sent/received using it.
On my Nexus One, from the home screen:
Several years ago I used to make short RPG games using RPG Maker 2003, and among the many little games I made three of them that followed a story I was writing about my Azulians (seen here battling some other creatures I made up).
I've sufficiently lost all those games and all the files that went with them at some point since then, and now all I have left are the front-facing sprites for all the Azulians:
A recurring element in the games, though, was a mini-game called "Azulian Tag", which is sorta the opposite of regular tag: the player who is "it" is hunted down by all the other players. In the games, there would be blue Azulians that travel the same speed as the player (and thus are easy to run from as long as you keep on moving), red ones that move a little bit faster than the player, and white ones that move even faster. The game would start you out surrounded by about 6 blue Azulians, then 4 red ones further out and 2 white ones much further away, to give you time to run. The goal of the game was just to survive as long as possible.
The device of my dreams: a no strings attached, open Android-powered device, which is like a smartphone (touch screen etc.), but which is not a phone, but can get a data plan from any cell carrier in the same way that laptops can use 3G cards and get internet anywhere from a cell phone carrier.
It would basically be a miniature PC that resembles an Android phone, but which isn't a phone, but which you can just install Skype on if you really need to make a phone call, since it could still get cellular data service.
And, being like a miniature PC, it would be as open to operating systems as a real PC; it would be just as easy to install and reinstall Android firmwares (or any compatible OS) to it as it would reinstalling your operating system on your laptop.
I imagine Dell would be a good manufacturer for such a device; they would market it just like they market netbooks, as being just a mini PC that happens to run Android (preferably the stock vanilla Android as Google intended it, but being open you could flash any version of Android you want).
If such a device existed I would buy it as soon as it came out. I'm quite sick of the way phone carriers abuse the Android OS and wish there could just be a seriously open device.
I saw on Digg today that Google discontinued sales of their Nexus One phone, following "disappointing sales."
What it really means from what I've read is that Google is just not selling the phone themselves directly but it can still be obtained via other means (developers can still buy them and they're still being sold in other countries), but that Google still intends to support the phone for the foreseeable future -- it will still be the first in line to get Android updates, for example.
I have a Nexus One and I like it and this news is a bit worrisome to me, but not in the way you might expect. Rather, because the Nexus One is one of the few Android phones that is truly open.
Apparently, the very first Android phone (the G1), the first Droid, and the Nexus One are pretty much the only Android phones that ship with the stock, vanilla, Android firmware. All the other HTC phones out there for example run the "HTC Sense" UI on top of Android, and the Motorola phones run the "Motoblur" UI; some people don't like these add-ons on top of Android and would rather run Android the way Google intended, using the stock vanilla release of the ROM. Or, some people just like to hack their phones and have root access on them.
The Nexus One phone made it really easy to unlock your bootloader and install custom/unsigned Android ROMs onto the phone if you wanted to (it would even provide a nice screen warning you that you're about to void your warranty). The Nexus One allows you to install whatever you want on it, and both Google and the phone itself fully supports this. But, other phones, notably the Motorola phones that come with an eFuse that will practically "brick" your phone if you try to modify its firmware, aren't so open.
There seems to be a trend in Android phones in which companies are trying to play Apple; Apple's iPhone devices are super locked down, and Apple tries to patch all the security holes to stop people from jailbreaking their devices - with each firmware release Apple tries to make it harder and harder to hack the iPhones. In Apple's ideal world, their hardware would be completely 100% impenetrable from hackers and nobody could modify their devices. It seems Android vendors want to copy this business model, which I for one do not like.
It seems Android vendors are "standing on the shoulders of giants," they look at Android and all they see is a free open source Linux-based mobile operating system, and they wanna just take all that hard work, add a few things to make their devices a major pain in the ass to hack (in their ideal world, absolutely impossible to hack) and then jerk their customers around in exactly the same way that Apple does. Is this really what Android was supposed to be all about? Just giving greedy megacorporations the cheap tools they need to strongarm part of the cell phone monopoly in their favor?
Hopefully the Nexus One won't be the last developer phone that can be bought by non-developers. I got mine specifically because it ran the stock unmodified Android firmware and because it was completely open to customization. As I ranted about before, I don't like how Apple is able to just slow down your old phones and force you to upgrade; at least I have the comfort of knowing I can easily flash any Android ROM onto my Nexus One and nobody can force me to upgrade by slowing my phone down or doing anything else malicious to it.
God help us if this is the future and we're stuck with many Apple-like companies all forcing us to use their locked-down devices that we're not allowed to touch at all for fear of permanently bricking our devices.