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When Google releases a new SDK it intentionally does not provide skins for any particular handset models.

This is to emphasise the fact you are writing for a platform, one which has many particular implementations. However, it's really nice to have a skin for a handset you are interested in if for no other reason than to reassure yourself your app really does look good on it!

For a while there was no Nexus One skin, and then Tim Hoeck added one to his blog. Following the recent release of the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK it was proving a little tricky to find one for the Nexus S, so we present ours here along with the steps needed to start making use of it. Together with the Gingerbread SDK, this amounts to a free (virtual) Nexus S!

A Nexus S skin

For the impatient who know what they are doing, you can download the skin here. For the rest, following a nice picture of what it looks like in action visiting a site not too far from here, we'll get on with how you wire it in.

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This skin comes in the form of a ZIP file which you must expand into the /platforms/android-x/skins folder underneath where you installed your Android SDK. So an example for Gingerbread (SDK 2.3, aka platform 9) on a Windows XP system with the SDK installed to D:\android-sdk-windows is {codecitation} D:\android-sdk-windows\platforms\android-9\skins\NEXUS-S {/codecitation}

Set up the skin as the NEXUS-S as follows - notice the name now appears in the dropdown list:

 

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The last thing to be aware of is the screen scaling. If you run this emulator right now at its default size, it will most probably appear too large. Since everyones monitor/laptop screen size is different it's difficult to give any hard and fast rules, so the approach is to tweak the size yourself until comfortable. Notice this means you have to launch the AVD from the AVD panel itself off the Eclipse toolbar - if you rely on the one automatically started when you run your app (i.e. managed under "Run Configurations..") you don't get this option. Use the "Start..." button in the AVD window:

 

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Here's where you tweak the scaling to suit.

 

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It's best to launch the emulator this way, leave it running, and each time you start your app from Eclipse choose this instance as the target.

Download the Nexus S skin here.