Emulator in-browser (no install)

Very basic question that has to be common:

Our institution forbids any software install and we do not have enough android phones for every student to test in real-time.

Is there a way to run the emulator within a browser without a software install?


Here is a web browser based emulator https://www.apkonline.net/free-android-online-emulator/run-android-online-emulator I have not tried it. I expect it is full of ads etc. The same emulator seems available as a Chrome browser plug in https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/android-online-emulator/lnhnebkkgjmlgomfkkmkoaefbknopmja?hl=en

I expect this would allow you to test an apk. It will not be possible to do a Connect>Emulator to test I imagine. Your students probably would have to compile and then run the apk in the browser.

I am not aware of any emulator that works on a USB stick but someone else might.

Instead of a web based emulator (that might have issues), perhaps beg, borrow used Android phones that no longer have a service contract. I have several older phones that no longer have an provider, however they connect fine using Companion and WIFI. Your students, parents, faculty might be solicited for donations.

Let us know what you discover. Good luck.


Thanks so much for your reply. I tried the link and my institution is blocking it! They also don’t allow any plug-ins. Now what :)?

Guess you got to be creative. Do some fund raising for tablets, change how you teach the course (share stuff) and work in teams?

  • Institutions have policies regarding software; they sometimes make exceptions. Plead your case for the emulator.

  • Share your existing Android phones among students. Have them work in pairs to build projects. ... just cut your Android requirements in half.

  • Currently App Inventor 2 works only with Android phones. Soon, AI2 should work with ios. When? Sometimes this year hopefully. Some students might have ios phones
    they can use.

  • Bring in an old laptop. Install one of the stand alone emulators (I hesitate to recommend one) and let the students test their apk's on it. It is possible to develop 'in the blind'. This means, do not use Companion or the emulator. Simply do NOT Connect. Design and code, then BUILD and test the resulting apk in your Android device (that is make the apk periodically and load it into your Android) to test. Using the Designer without an emulator works to create an app; requires a bit of confidence but can work in a class if you have a least one real device to pass among the class for the students to occasionally test their creations. Yes, this is awkward but could allow students to continue on their Projects.

  • Plead parents, students and friends for 'unused' cell phones.

  • Buy a few cheap Tablets . I see a Fire 7 for 50$ and some off brand devices for 35$ or less that probably will work. The school can afford ipads, certainly a few inexpensive tablets are in order.

  • Wait a while, someone else might have a different/better solution. :slight_smile:


One of the other AI2 spinoffs recently announced an over-the-web testing facility. I forget if it was Thunkable or Kodular. Unfortunately, it is a one way trip because of incompatibility.

I think it was Thunkable X that recently announced live previews on the web. Unfortunately, X is not based off of App Inventor, so compatibility is as non-existent as a dodo.

I have some old laptops, but they can’t connect to the network! Maybe a mobile hotspot? I plead parents, we will see what happens. Thanks again for your help.

I’m really not an expert here. Are you saying that you have to have a specific android emulator that is compatible with AI2?

Pair programming is a potential approach if you can't install any software. You could arrange for one student to drive and the other to navigate. The navigator could use the phone/tablet while the driver uses the laptop to make the app. Students can then switch off for projects.

The Android emulator emulates the entire hardware stack, so it's not really feasible to have a complete emulator in the browser. There was ARC (Android Runtime for Chrome) which is now part of Chromium and allows for Android apps to run on Chromebooks, but it's no longer available for PCs, unfortunately.

Our emulator package is just a preconfigured version of the Android Studio emulator with a bit of additional supporting software that facilitates the browser talking to the emulator. If you could at least agree to have your school IT install the Android Studio emulator, we might be able to give you some alternate instructions to bypass the need for the additional software.

It's not an emulator by conventional standards. It only emulates your application as a website, and can't run .apk files.

It's still available as a Chrome extension:

EDIT: Running the Companion on my Windows device with the extension

but still loads forever!

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