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Yesterday I wrote about installing Ubuntu Touch Emulator (ARM) in Ubuntu, but as you've probably noticed from the video or from your own experience if you've installed it, the ARM emulator is very slow.

There's a preview Ubuntu Touch Emulator x86 image that works a lot better than the ARM emulator and even though it's available as a preview, it's probably better to use that instead of the ARM emulator, so here's how to install it.

Ubuntu Touch x86 Emulator

In my test, the x86 Ubuntu Touch Emulator did not only work very fast and fluid, but it also started very fast (in about 10-15 seconds) as opposed to the ARM emulator which takes minutes to start.

Furthermore, in the ARM emulator article, I was telling you that setting the memory didn't work in my test - well, this did work with the x86 emulator so I was able to set the emulator RAM to 1024mb. However, the x86 Ubuntu Touch Emulator test video below uses the defaults (so it has the memory set to 512mb).

Known issues for Ubuntu Touch x86 Emulator:
  • Nested mode is currently disabled (unity-system-compositor) as it crashes Unity8 (seems to be an issue with latest Mir from lp:mir/devel, as it also happens on ARM);
  • Gallery-App doesn't work properly, probably because it's still trying to use libGL.so.

Ubuntu Touch x86 Emulator video

(direct video link)

As you can see from the video above, the X86 emulator starts a lot faster and is a lot more fluid than the ARM emulator (in the ARM emulator video I had to pause the screencast utility many times because some applications took ages to start but in the X86 emulator video, I didn't pause it at all).

How to install Ubuntu Touch x86 Emulator in Ubuntu

Update 13 May, 2014: Ubuntu Touch Emulator x86 is now available in a PPA!

Important: I tested the Ubuntu Touch Emulator x86 in Ubuntu 14.04 and 12.04 and:
  • in Ubuntu 14.04 running on my laptop: I was able to install and run it without any issues;
  • in Ubuntu 12.04 running in Virtualbox (so double virtualization...): the emulator was installed successfully and it worked, but there were some vertical stripes rendered on top of the Ubuntu Touch x86 emulator, which made it unusable. This might be because of VirtualBox though.

To add the Phablet Tools PPA and install the Ubuntu Touch Emulator with x86 support, use the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-emulator

If you've previously installed Ubuntu Emulator from the repositories, run an upgrade too:
sudo apt-get upgrade

To create an x86 Ubuntu Emulator instance, use the following command:
sudo ubuntu-emulator create UbuntuTouch --arch=i386
where "UbuntuTouch" is the instance name.

For how to use and configure Ubuntu Touch Emulator, see our previous article: Ubuntu Touch Emulator: Installation And Usage In Ubuntu 14.04, 13.10 And 12.04