If you have missed the fact that there is a VM version of Android ready for you to run, then you will be even more pleased that it has now reached version 4.1, aka JellyBean.
If you have been struggling with the standard emulator included in the Android SDK then the fact that there is an full Android available for the VirtualBox VM. This means that you can have Android 4.1 JellyBean running on your desktop as if on a mobile phone or tablet , in a few minutes .
This is not only useful for testing your Android apps, it can even be used to try out apps on the desktop and in varying screen resolutions. It really is fast enough to provide a reasonable user experience. It also provides an easy way of getting screen dumps for use in documentation etc.
The latest version makes future upgrades easier by separating the virtual disks into one for the system and one for the data.
There are three versions available - tablet, phone and tablet with phone capabilities. There is a separate Google apps enabled version, which includes the Play store. Notice that this is an 86x version of Android, so any apps that include native ARM code will not work unless you take the time to enable the Houdin ARM emulator which is included. For most Android apps this is not a problem because they are simply byte code and don't care what CPU the Java Virtual Machine is running on.
To make it all work, all you have to do is download the appropriate OVA file, install Virtual Box, and then import the OVA file as a new virtual machine. A few minutes later you should be able to run the machine. It is a good idea to increase the screen resolution and make the system bar show by default - it is necessary because you only have a mouse and not a touch screen.
You can find more information and a forum at the AndroVM blog site.