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What's the trick to getting clean recent builds of Android VMs?
All the images I've found are suspect, except the stale builds coming right from Google?
I was also reading about Google Apps caching on Android but I haven't seen Google Apps run properly in Android, all I get is limited functionality where I can edit the existing document but I can't insert or add fields/do anything complex?
My goal is to have a virtual OS that acts as a local desktop for Google and has offline functionality.
I'm not exactly sure what you are asking.
You can run/test any version of Android through the virtual emulator. Just download the SDK.
If you have a specific android device either use your service providers updates or root the device and pick a well supported distribution for your device (for example cyanogenmod).
Do you mean Google Docs? There is limited support now but that is due to the service (google.com/docs) and not with android specifically. Better support from the site to support mobile web interfaces is planned.
If you want a full desktop for Google specifically you should look into ChromeOS and sign up for the beta test (lottery).