Build an Alexa Built-in Speaker, Soundbar, or AVR

An Alexa Built-in (ABI) product gives customers hands-free voice control for multi-room music streaming, calling and messaging, alerts, and other core Alexa behaviors. Since smart speakers, soundbars, and audio/video receivers (AVRs) are considered headless, meaning the device typically doesn't have a screen, you'll also develop a mobile companion app (iOS or Android) for customer setup.

In this document, you'll learn the high-level steps and resources to concept, prototype, build, and launch a smart speaker with microphones, leveraging the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) through the AVS Device SDK.

Understand the AVS product requirements

Customers expect all Alexa Built-in products to deliver a consistent and high-quality Alexa experience. To set this bar, the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) team at Amazon provides functional, design, security, and legal requirements and recommendations. Follow them from concept to QA to streamline your path to certification.

Get the AVS Device SDK

To dramatically reduce development time, most Alexa Built-in products should leverage the AVS Device SDK, then extend and customize the core Alexa features and functions as needed. Almost all Echo device features are included or supported with the SDK, and AVS continuously adds new Alexa capabilities.

The AVS Device SDK provides the software interface for your device through C++-based libraries that leverage and expose the AVS APIs. It's modular and abstracted, allowing you to customize it, extend it, and implement the components needed for your unique product. Also, did we mention it's free?

First, build the sample app— See the AVS Device SDK in action with a quick prototype. Use it to define your customer use cases, desired features, and hardware requirements.

  1. Create a developer account
  2. Learn to set up your product profile
  3. To build a prototype with a Raspberry Pi, read the tutorial or watch the video

Don't have access to a Pi? We have quick start guides for Ubuntu Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Choose a hardware development kit

Kick off development of a commercial device with a reference solution for Alexa Built-in products. These audio front-end (AFE) and single-chip-solution development kits were built with voice in mind, reducing cost and accelerating the integration process. Select the kit that matches the number of mics, mic arrangement, and audio algorithms your product needs.

Follow our product development guidance

UX Design Guides— Our AVS UX guidance goes beyond audio/visual cues and on-device buttons. From branding and packaging to companion app design – your product's end-to-end experience should be familiar and natural for customers.

Features and Functions— Some core Alexa behaviors require the integration of additional binary libraries or software functions beyond the core AVS Device SDK.

Not using the AVS Device SDK, or want to customize and extend features like Alerts and Notifications? Read our Feature Guides and API Reference docs for details on each interface.

Testing and Certification Guides— Commercially distributed products must meet all AVS product requirements. To validate these requirements, our testing and certification process is broken into self-testing (you test your device), and Amazon testing (we test your device). These guides are designed to help your product streamline testing and pass certification.

Marketing Guides— Teach your customers about Alexa through promotional materials and advertising. We cover requirements for press releases, packaging, retail fixtures, websites, crowdfunding sites, Amazon product detail page content, and videos.

Integrate new features

As you build, test, launch, and update your device, we are also working to improve our services. We continuously release new features and functions, product development guidance, updated requirements, and a more streamlined path to certification. You may be required to implement certain changes before and after launching your device.

Monitor our Release Notes for actionable updates.

Need help?

Submit your questions, comments, and issues to the AVS Knowledge Base and Forum. We actively monitor and respond to developer feedback and concerns.