Android Tools

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Here are some development tools useful for working with Android

Android SDK


adb is the android debugger - it also doubles as file transfer agent. The setup consists of an adbd on the target in the /sbin directory. On the host two programs are run: the adb application (in the SDK's tools directory) and an adb server, started by the adb application.

For emulators, adb will usually run automagically.

For real boards - with debugging over USB, you might need to do work, as is documented here: .

For real boards that do not have a USB connection but have Ethernet instead, you might need to do a few tricks.

  • make sure that adbd runs on the board. If it doesn't run, you might want to check the init.rc file.
  • make sure that the network connection between host and the board is working - test pinging both ways.
  • on the host, type the following (and yes, you need to specify the board's IP address on the host):
  ADBHOST=<target-ip> tools/adb kill-server
  ADBHOST=<target-ip> tools/adb shell
  • you should now get a prompt on the board, you can exit the prompt if you want.
  • tools/adb devices should now list the device.


  • Fastboot - Android Fastboot is a tool to boot and manipulate the partitions on an Android development phone.

The emulator is a version of QEMU, which mimics the instruction set of an ARM processor, and the hardware that one might find on a mobile phone. The emulator runs on an x86 system, but executes an ARM linux kernel and programs. The flow of control is:

    • application ->
    • dalvik VM ->
    • C/C++ libraries ->
    • ARM linux kernel ->
    • emulated instructions and hardware (QEMU)->
    • C libraries->
    • x86 kernel ->
    • real hardware


other tools




Android ships with a utility suite (called 'toolbox') that is not busybox.

You can get a binary busybox for Android here The site includes instructions for easy installation on your device.


  • smem




Serial Cable for G1

You can build a serial cable to use with the G1, which is helpful to see kernel boot messages on the serial console.


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