Google Play Services (GPS) enables a long list of integrations with the Google API. Unfortunately, Google doesn't always provide the most up-to-date version of GPS with its latest Android images, which affects which version of GPS is available for our Android emulators. Several solutions to integrating the latest version of GPS with the latest version of Android emulators have been suggested, as described in the StackOverflow article, "Google Play Services Missing in Emulator (Android 4.4.2)." One of these methods, referred to as "sideloading," involves downloading the latest GPS .apk file, creating a new Android Virtual Device (AVD) without the APIs installed, running the AVD, and then installing the newest version of GPS from the new .apk files.
We have tested this method and found that it doesn't work, as documented in this video. At this point we have no reliable work-arounds for updating our Android emulators with the latest version of GPS if that version is not included in the Android image released by Google. Instead, if you want to use the latest version of GPS with your Android mobile application tests on emulators, you must wait until Google releases an Android image with that version, and for Sauce to incorporate that newer Android image into our emulator product. Supported Android Emulators provides a list of the GPS versions are that included with each release of the Android SDK and that are supported by Sauce Labs.
As an alternative, we update our Real Device Cloud (RDC) Android devices to the latest GPS version once a month, so if you have a requirement to use the absolute latest version of GPS for your tests, you may want to consider migrating some of your tests to our RDC product.