You have two ways to get applications on to your virtual device.
Once your emulator is running, it’s time to install your favourite apps. On a regular Android device, you would have Google Play or even FDroid. In the emulators, you’ll usually have to install Gapps to have access to the Play Store. There are other ways to add applications to your virtual phone. You can use Adb towards the virtual device: this works in both the emulators and the containerised solutions such as Anbox. Android_x86 comes with the Play store installed by default, making it very quick to get started. In the case of AVD you can run regular installed applications or the application you’re developing in Android Studio. Installing applications using Google Play is included in some of the images, but not all of them. Another way to install from Apk is to drop the file on the emulator window. Doing this immediately installs the application, or at least tries to. Genymotion also supports drag and drop. In all cases, the Apk needs to be for x86 or the install will fail. Adb is also required before this works.
You can also try with Shashlik. Shashlik acts as a container, much like Anbox, but there’s a built-in install function. As soon as you’ve installed an application, it shows up as an application in your desktop list. In our GNOME example, typing ‘shashlik’ displays all the installed apps. You can then run your favourite directly just like any other installed application.