Android Terminal Emulator allows command line access to your Android device.

You can appreciate that this provides a familiar Linux environment, and an opportunity to poke around the darker recesses of your Android devices. It is however subjected to the same security sandbox as all other Android applications, so you are not about to be able to execute su if your device is a regular consumer Android.

Android Terminal Emulator is especially valuable for people who own consumer devices from manufacturers who put a broken version of Terminal Emulator in their ROM. The broken version generates an irritating force close due to Exception Ljava/lang/UnsatisfiedLinkError; thrown while initializing Lcom/android/term/Exec;.

Compiling The Android Terminal Emulator From Source

One good reason to compile your own Android Terminal Emulator from source is to add permissions to run certain programs.

An example is logcat. This command requires the permission android.permission.READ_LOGS. By adding this permission to AndroidManifest.xml, you can execute logcat from Android Terminal Emulator.

The source code for Android Terminal Emulator can be downloaded from

With the added permission, logcat now displays the system log. You can return to the command prompt with ^C (press Volume Down followed by C).

Last updated on 28 May 2013
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