Testing mobile applications can be some times a really hard task. As a developer, I feel this pain specially when unit testing my applications.
The Android emulator is actually a virtual machine running on top of your machine, so you can picture the performance punch your machine is suffering. Fortunately, if you are using Intel architecture for your emulator, there is a way to hugely improve the performance. This is by enabling Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (or Intel HAXM) on Windows or Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) for Linux.
For Intel HAXM, it is very important that you check whether your machine supports Intel-VTx. Intel provides a utility that helps to identify this on Windows: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?ProductID=1881&DwnldID=7838
Intel has an article describing very well how the hardware acceleration can be achieved for both Windows and Linux https://software.intel.com/en-us/android/articles/speeding-up-the-android-emulator-on-intel-architecture
While in Windows is pretty straight forward, just following a couple of wizards, on Linux is a little bit more complicated. By "complicated" I mean you have to run some commands in the command-line terminal.
Note: There are few additional requirements of running an emulator with IntelHAXM technology. See http://developer.android.com/tools/devices/emulator.html particularly the VM acceleration section http://developer.android.com/tools/devices/emulator.html#accel-vm
To make this more interesting, try it using the new IBM Rational Application Developer 9.5 Beta which comes with new Apache Cordova Plugins preferences to install from either local resource or Git repository. See this blog post for more details http://tinyurl.com/lu9prdp. Remember, any topic or question you have, you can use our 9.5 Beta forum https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/forums/html/forum?id=7ecc4be7-f807-4fa8-811a-6a1a26300fa9&ps=25