Set up the AVS SDK on Android

This guide provides step-by-step instructions to set up the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Device SDK for Android. When finished, you'll have a working sample app to test interactions with Alexa.

Prerequisites

You must meet these Prerequisites to use the AVS SDK on Android.

Storage

We recommend installing the Android sample app onto the internal storage of your Android device or emulator. Installing onto external storage may result in installation failures, depending on the storage format. For example, the sample app will not work on FAT32.

Supported platforms

You can use any of these platform types to test and debug your build:

Device Type Minimum Requirements
Android Emulator 500 MB minimum of available disk space.
Android Device, such as a phone 500 MB minimum of available disk space.
Android Things-supported Hardware See requirements here.

Get started

  1. Install Android tools by either by downloading Android Studio (which includes the tools by default) or via the command line.
  2. After you've installed Android tools, you'll need to install platformtools using the Android sdkmanager, which is part of the Android tools package. During this process, you'll need to specify the CPU type and Android version number.

     # install cmake, ndk-bundle, and android abi sdkmanager "ndk-bundle"
     sdkmanager "cmake;3.6.4111459"
     sdkmanager "system-images;android-23;google_apis;armeabi-v7a"
     sdkmanager "platform-tools"
    
  1. Once the tools are installed, set your PATH environment variable to include the Android tools. For example, if you've installed the Android tools on your home directory ~/Android/sdk, run this command:

     export PATH=$PATH:~/Android/sdk/platform-tools:~/Android/sdk/tools:~/Android/sdk/tools/bin
    
  1. Install additional dependencies

Once the tools are installed, you'll need to install these packages: autoconf, automake, libtool, pkg-config.

MacOS:

brew install autoconf automake libtool pkg-config

Linux:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install autoconf automake libtool pkg-config
  1. You'll need to connect your target device to the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) in order to install the SDK on your device. For Android devices and Android Things-enabled hardware, you'll need to enable USB debugging and connect your device to the ADB before you run the startsample.sh build script.

The Android Emulator is connected to the ADB by default. No configuration is required.

To connect your device to the ADB, follow these steps:

  1. Physically connect your device to your Mac or Linux machine via USB.
  2. Enable USB debugging for your device.
  3. Connect your device to the ADB:

     adb root adb connect <device_ip>
    
  1. Download installation script and configuration file:

Note: You can specify any directory you prefer to run the scripts and download these files to. The following commands will download all the necessary files:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/alexa/avs-device-sdk/master/tools/Install/androidConfig.txt
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/alexa/avs-device-sdk/master/tools/Install/setup.sh
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/alexa/avs-device-sdk/master/tools/Install/genConfig.sh
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/alexa/avs-device-sdk/master/tools/Install/android.sh

Next, you'll need to authorize your build of the sample app.

Authorization

Before you can use the Device SDK sample app, you'll need to authorize it with the Alexa cloud in order to leverage the full range of Alexa capabilities and features available to the sample app.

Prerequisites

You must register an AVS Product and Create a Security Profile, if you haven't already.

Note: The product must be enabled for code-based linking.

  1. Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the set up android.sh script.
  2. Update androidConfig.txt with the following variables:

    Parameter Value
    PLATFORM This variable should be set to "android".
    API_LEVEL The Android API level. See this table to identify the target level. The API level will depend on the device or emulator configuration.

    Supported version: API 23+ or greater is supported.
    TARGET_SYSTEM Choose this value according to the CPU architecture of your target device. For example, choose arm for the Raspberry Pi.

    Accepted values: arm and x86.
    DEVICE_INSTALL_PATH The file path on the device where the script should install the sample app and dependencies.

    Note: Make sure this path exists on the device, and that you have write permissions.
    BUILD_TYPE The type of build that will be used.

    Accepted values: debug, release, MinSizeRel, and RelWithDebInfo.
  3. Run android.sh, using config.json, androidConfix.txt, and the device serial number (DSN) as arguments. You can either provide your own DSN, or use the system default (123456). The DSN can be any unique alpha-numeric string (up to 64 characters). You should use this string to identify your product or application instance. Many developers choose to use a product's SKU for this value.

For example: sudo bash setup.sh config.json -a androidConfig.txt -s 998987

Note: If you don't supply a DSN, then the default value 123456 will be generated by the SDK.

Finish authorization using Login with Amazon

  1. Initialize the sample app using the startsample.sh script that you previously generated when you ran the setup.sh script. Type bash startsample.sh to run the sample app. This script is a batch file and not a bash script, you can run the script either from the command line, or by locating the file and then double-clicking it.

  2. Wait for the sample app to display a message like this:

     ##################################
     #       NOT YET AUTHORIZED       #
     ##################################
     ################################################################################################
     #       To authorize, browse to: 'https://amazon.com/us/code' and enter the code: {XXXX}       #
     ################################################################################################
    
  3. Use a browser to navigate to the URL specified in the message from the sample app.
  4. If requested to do so, authenticate using your Amazon user credentials.
  5. Enter the code specified in the message from sample app.
  6. Select “Allow”.
  7. Wait (it may take a few seconds) for the sample app to report that it is authorized, and that Alexa is idle. It will look something like this:

     ###########################
     #       Authorized!       #
     ###########################
     ########################################
     #       Alexa is currently idle!       #
     ########################################
    
  8. You are now ready to use the sample app. The next time you start the sample app, you will not need to go through the authorization process.

Note: if you exit out of sample app via the k command, the CBLAuthDelegate database will be cleared, and you will need to reauthorize your client.

Use the sample app

Now that you have a working sample app, try an interaction with Alexa. If you have quit the sample app, start it again with: bash startsample.sh

Interact with Alexa using tap-to-talk

Press T+Enter, and ask Alexa something.

For example:

User taps-to-talk (T+Enter): "Alexa, what's the weather like?" Alexa: "Right now in Portland, it's 71 degrees with sun…"

Additional options

Interaction options

Action Command
Tap to talk t+Enter, followed by your query (no need to say "Alexa…").
Hold to talk h+Enter, followed by your query (no need to say "Alexa…").
Simulate button release h+Enter
Stop an interaction s+Enter

Playback controls

Action Command
Play 1
Pause 2
Next 3
Previous 4

Settings

Action Command
View available settings c+Enter
Adjust speaker settings p+Enter
Report firmware version f+Enter
Help screen i+Enter
Reset device k+Enter; this will erase any data stored on the device, and you will have to re-register it. This will also exit the application.
Quit q+Enter

Troubleshooting

See the Troubleshooting Guide.