Firing up the Android emulator historically has been a lot like going to the DMV, or maybe the pediatrician's office. You can do it, and you'll have something to show for it at the end of the day, but you'd better take the day off work. Point is, that sucker was slow. Notice we're writing in the past tense here, though. Google's just unwrapped an update to the emulator that does a couple things. First and foremost is that GPU support has been added, which gives a much better experience as far as graphic and rendering are concerned. It's night and day. Second is that there's better hardware emulation, and you can now use a tethered device to provide input. Very cool. And finally there's better CPU performance, and operations are performed twice as fast.
What's that mean to most of us? Not a whole hell of a lot. But it will mean happier developers. And that's certainly good for everyone.
Source: Android Developers Blog