Monday, February 1, 2010

Android Screenshots

One of the annoying things about Android is trying to get a screenshot from the device. With the current versions of Android there are two options, root your device and download an app or connect your device to a PC with the SDK installed. I will attempt to describe how to do the later on the Windows Platform.

Firstly you need to install the Java JDK from Sun. I am running 64 bit Windows but opted for 32 bit Java as I have run into difficulties in the past using the 64 bit version. Just install Java into the default locations. You then need to add the path of java.exe to the System environment variables. When you look in Programs Files (or Program Files (x86)) you will find that the JDK installed also installed the JRE (Java Runtime Environment), I would recommend adding the JDK location to your path and not the JRE. In my case this is:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jdk1.6.0_17\bin

I also added a new environment variable JAVA_HOME. I’m not sure if this is strictly necessary but since I run a development system I have it set. Setting it if it isn’t necessary will do no harm. If you find you don’t need it please let me know. JAVA_HOME should be set to the JDK directory, in my case:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jdk1.6.0_17

Once Java is configured you need to download the Android SDK and install it. Installing is simply a case of unzipping to a location of choice. You then need to create another new environment variable ANDROID_SWT which points to the path containing swt.jar. The SDK installed two versions of swt.jar, one for 32 bit Java and one for 64 bit. Note this does not depend on the version of Windows but the version of Java, so in my case I set it to:


The next step is to install the USB device driver for Android. To do this you need to use the SDK to download the driver. You need to run ‘SDK Setup.exe’ from the root of the Android SDK directory, in my case:

C:\Programs\android-sdk-windows\SDK Setup.exe

This application will attempt to connect to the internet to download SDK packages and the USB driver. You can select Accept All and then Install Accepted. I would suggest that you follow the driver installations details from the Android Developer site.

Next on your phone you need to enable debugging. On my Android 1.5 HTC Hero, I selected Settings, Applications, Development, USB debugging. Once this is done connect your phone to the PC.

Finally we can have a go at taking a screenshot. To do this you need to run ddms.bat from the tools directory of the SDK, in my case this is:


This will execute the Dalvik Debug Monitor. In this application you should be able to see your device in the upper left hand windows. Select the device and then use the Device Menu to select Screen Capture...

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