Developing on a Device

When building a mobile application, it's important that you always test your application on a real device before releasing it to users. This page describes how to set up your development environment and Android-powered device for testing and debugging on the device.

You can use any Android-powered device as an environment for running, debugging, and testing your applications. The tools included in the SDK make it easy to install and run your application on the device each time you compile. You can install your application on the device directly from Eclipse or from the command line. If you don't yet have a device, check with the service providers in your area to determine which Android-powered devices are available.

If you want a SIM-unlocked phone, then you might consider either an Android Dev Phone or the Google Nexus S. These are SIM-unlocked so that you can use them on any GSM network using a SIM card. The Android Dev Phones also feature an unlocked bootloader so you can install custom system images (great for developing and installing custom versions of the Android platform). To find a a place you can purchase the Nexus S, visit To purchase an Android Dev Phone, see the Android Market site (requires a developer account).

Note: When developing on a device, keep in mind that you should still use the Android emulator to test your application on configurations that are not equivalent to those of your real device. Although the emulator does not allow you to test every device feature (such as the accelerometer), it does allow you to verify that your application functions properly on different versions of the Android platform, in different screen sizes and orientations, and more.

Setting up a Device for Development

With an Android-powered device, you can develop and debug your Android applications just as you would on the emulator. Before you can start, there are just a few things to do:

  1. Declare your application as "debuggable" in your Android Manifest.

    In Eclipse, you can do this from the Application tab when viewing the Manifest (on the right side, set Debuggable to true). Otherwise, in the AndroidManifest.xml file, add android:debuggable="true" to the <application> element.

  2. Turn on "USB Debugging" on your device.

    On the device, go to the home screen, press MENU, select Applications > Development, then enable USB debugging.

  3. Setup your system to detect your device.
    • If you're developing on Windows, you need to install a USB driver for adb. If you're using an Android Developer Phone (ADP), Nexus One, or Nexus S, see the Google Windows USB Driver. Otherwise, you can find a link to the appropriate OEM driver in the OEM USB Drivers document.
    • If you're developing on Mac OS X, it just works. Skip this step.
    • If you're developing on Ubuntu Linux, you need to add a rules file that contains a USB configuration for each type of device you want to use for development. Each device manufacturer uses a different vendor ID. The example rules files below show how to add an entry for a single vendor ID (the HTC vendor ID). In order to support more devices, you will need additional lines of the same format that provide a different value for the SYSFS{idVendor} property. For other IDs, see the table of USB Vendor IDs, below.
      1. Log in as root and create this file: /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules.

        For Gusty/Hardy, edit the file to read:
        SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0bb4", MODE="0666"

        For Dapper, edit the file to read:
        SUBSYSTEM=="usb_device", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0bb4", MODE="0666"

      2. Now execute:
        chmod a+r /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules

You can verify that your device is connected by executing adb devices from your SDK platform-tools/ directory. If connected, you'll see the device name listed as a "device."

If using Eclipse, run or debug as usual. You will be presented with a Device Chooser dialog that lists the available emulator(s) and connected device(s). Select the device upon which you want to install and run the application.

If using the Android Debug Bridge (adb), you can issue commands with the -d flag to target your connected device.

USB Vendor IDs

This table provides a reference to the vendor IDs needed in order to add USB device support on Linux. The USB Vendor ID is the value given to the SYSFS{idVendor} property in the rules file, as described in step 3, above.

ManufacturerUSB Vendor ID
Acer 0502
Dell 413c
Foxconn 0489
Garmin-Asus 091E
HTC 0bb4
Huawei 12d1
Kyocera 0482
LG 1004
Motorola 22b8
Nvidia 0955
Pantech 10A9
Samsung 04e8
Sharp 04dd
Sony Ericsson 0fce
ZTE 19D2
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