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Experience Android KitKat in VMware Workstation

KitKat is the latest Android release from Google with a lot of attractive changes both inside and outside. Before it hits every Android phone out there, you certainly have a new way to experience it with a very simple set up in VMware Workstation 10.

Last week, our team was very excited to see that the latest Android x86 release (a.k.a. 4.4 RC1) supports VMware virtual machines. Details are available in the release note at  http://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-4-4-rc1.

I downloaded the ISO file and successfully set it up to run within Workstation 10 but you need to be aware of a couple tips and tricks. The part that you need to notice during installation is that once the Android ISO file is selected, it will be detected as FreeBSD and 256 MB of memory is assigned by default which was not enough to power on the VM without errors. After a few trials of modifying the memory settings of the VM, I found out that 4 GB of virtual memory could sufficiently make it run in a very smooth style.

Upon successful VM power up you will need to walk through a manual installation of Linux which is not covered in this article. However if during the installation you run into any problem when creating and formatting the disk, here is a brief reference you can use as a guide, https://blogs.vmware.com/workstation/2010/05/google-android-running-on-your-workstation.html. One thing to note is VMware Tools are not supported for Android.

Here is screenshot during successful power up of the KitKat VM before it boots into the GUI.


Once the Android VM was setup and I powered on the VM, KitKat worked very well as you can see from the screenshot below. You can surf the web and use most of the Android application, mouse curser/clicks mimic the touch screen input, and I also tried to run it on Microsoft Surface tablet, where you can really leverage the touch screen to operate the Android VM. While most of applications I tried worked well, Google Maps App could not be rendered properly at the moment.

Here is a screenshot of the Main Android Home Screen.


Below is another screenshot of KitKat browsing VMware website.


Another minor issue I discovered is that once the KitKat VM falls into sleep mode, I could not wake it up when there is no physical power button, so I had to reboot it. A simple workaround is going to the KitKat Settings -> Display -> Sleep, and check “Never time out of inactivity”.

Please let us know feedback running Android x86 VM in VMware Workstation since we’d love to make this a great way to experience Android OS.