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Larq Compute Engine Android Quickstart

This guide consists of two main sections. In the first section, we describe how to build your own Android app using Larq Compute Engine (LCE) and TensorFlow Lite Java Inference APIs to perform inference with a model built and trained with Larq. This can be achieved either by using our pre-built LCE Lite AAR hosted on Bintray (see here for instructions) or you can build the LCE Lite AAR on your local machine by following the guide here. In the second section, we describe how to build a LCE-compatible inference binary that can be executed on Android OS (e.g, a binary to benchmark your models).

Create Your Own Android app using LCE and TensorFlow Lite

In this section, we demonstrate how to perform inference with a Larq model in an Android app. We provide a custom LCE-compatible TensorFlow Lite Android Archive (AAR) which you can use in your own Android app to perform inference with the TensorFlow Lite Java inference APIs. In this guide, we use the TensorFlow Lite Android image classification app as an example. To get started with TensorFlow Lite on Android, we recommend to carefully read the TensorFlow Lite Android quickstart before proceeding with the next steps in this guide.

1. Build in Android Studio

To download and build the TensorFlow Lite Android image classification app in Android Studio, follow the instructions here. For an explanation of the source code, see here.

2. Add LCE-compatible TensorFlow Lite AAR to the project

To add the LCE Lite AAR to your android project, you can either use the pre-built LCE Lite AAR hosted on Bintray or build the LCE Lite AAR yourself on your local machine. Both approaches are explained in detail in the following sections.

Use the LCE Lite AAR from Bintray

To use LCE Lite AAR in the android app, we recommend using the LCE package hosted at Bintray. Modify the build.gradle file in the Android project to include the lce-lite dependency:

allprojects {
    repositories {
        maven {
            url  ""

dependencies {
    implementation 'org.larq:lce-lite:0.1.2'

This AAR includes binaries for arm64-v8a, x86_64, x86 Android ABIs. Please note that currently hand-optimized LCE operators are available only for arm64-v8a. To include binaries only for Android ABIs you need to support, modify abiFilters in the Gradle build as described here.


In TensorFlow Lite image classification app, you need to also remove the standard TensorFlow Lite dependency by commenting out the following line in build.gradle file:

dependencies {
    // Comment out the following line
    // implementation 'org.tensorflow:tensorflow-lite:0.0.0-nightly'
Note that the dependencies tensorflow-lite-gpu and tensorflow-lite-support are still required!

Build LCE Lite AAR locally

In case that you would like to make local changes to the LCE code or TensorFlow Lite binaries, you might wish to build the LCE Lite AAR locally. We provide a bash script to build the LCE Lite AAR. The bash script is only tested inside the LCE docker container. See LCE build guide to setup the docker container.

Once the docker container is setup, run the following command from the LCE root directory inside the container:

The script will build the LCE Android archive lce-lite-<version>.aar and store the file in the root directory of LCE repository.

Transfer the LCE Android archive file from the LCE container to the host machine (where the Android Studio is setup). Execute the following command to install the LCE Android Archive to local Maven repository:

mvn install:install-file \
  -Dfile=lce-lite-0.1.2.aar \
  -DgroupId=org.larq \
  -DartifactId=lce-lite -Dversion=0.1.000 -Dpackaging=aar

Modify the build.gradle file in the the Android project to include mavenLocal() repository:

allprojects {
    repositories {

Replace the standard TensorFlow Lite dependency with local LCE Lite AAR:

dependencies {
    implementation 'org.larq:lce-lite:0.1.000'

Note that the version 0.1.000 is chosen arbitrarily and should match the version passed to the -Dversion argument in Maven command executed previously.

3. Add Larq Model to the project

In this guide, we use the Larq QuickNet model for efficient and fast image classification. The FlatBuffer format of the QuickNet model quicknet.tflite can be created by using the LCE converter and needs to be placed in the assets folder of the Android project. You also need to use the labels_without_background.txt as its corresponding labels file. The labels file is already available in the asset folder of the TensorFlow Lite image classification Android app.

The TensorFlow Lite classifier in the image classifaction app works with the float MobileNet model. To replace the MobileNet with QuickNet, you need to modify getModelPath() and getLabelPath() methods in file.

protected String getModelPath() {
    return "quicknet.tflite";

protected String getLabelPath() {
    return "labels_without_background.txt";

The QuickNet model requires additional normalization of the input by changing the IMAGE_MEAN and IMAGE_STD variables in ClassifierFloatMobileNet class:

private static final float[] IMAGE_MEAN = {0.485f * 255, 0.456f * 255, 0.406f * 255};
private static final float[] IMAGE_STD = {0.229f * 255, 0.224f * 255, 0.225f * 255};

Now you will be able to build the App in Android Studio and run it on your Android phone. Choose the Float model in the app drop-down list to use QuickNet for inference. The following screenshot shows an example of image classification using LCE Lite AAR as the inference engine.

Create an LCE inference binary for Android

To build Larq Compute Engine (LCE) for Android, you must have the Android NDK and SDK installed on your system. Below we explain how to install the Android prerequisites in the LCE Docker container and how to configure the LCE Bazel build settings accordingly. Before proceeding with the next steps, please follow the instructions in the main LCE build guide to setup the Docker container for LCE and the Bazel build system.

NOTE: we recommend using the docker volume as described in the LCE build guide to be able to easily transfer files in-between the container and the host machine.

Install prerequisites

We provide a bash script which uses the sdkmanager tool to install the Android NDK and SDK inside the Docker container. Please run the script by executing the following command from the LCE root directory:


After executing the bash script, please accept the Android SDK licence agreement. The script will download and unpack the Android NDK and SKD under the directory /tmp/lce_android in the LCE docker container.

Custom android version

The Android NDK and SDK versions used in LCE are currently hard-coded in the install script. To build LCE against a different NDK and SDK versions, you can manually modify ANDROID_VERSION and ANDROID_NDK_VERSION variables in the install script. Additionally, the following configurations in (or .bazelrc) file need to be adjusted:

build --action_env ANDROID_NDK_HOME="/tmp/lce_android/ndk/19.2.5345600"
build --action_env ANDROID_NDK_API_LEVEL="21"
build --action_env ANDROID_BUILD_TOOLS_VERSION="28.0.3"
build --action_env ANDROID_SDK_API_LEVEL="23"
build --action_env ANDROID_SDK_HOME="/usr/local/android/android-sdk-linux"

Build an LCE inference binary

To build an LCE inference binary for Android (see here for creating your own LCE binary) the Bazel target needs to built with --config=android_arm64 flag. For example, to build the minimal example for Android, run the following command from the LCE root directory:

bazel build -c opt \
    --config=android_arm64 \

To build the LCE benchmark tool for Android, simply build the bazel target //larq_compute_engine/tflite/benchmark:lce_benchmark_model.

The resulting binaries will be stored at bazel-bin/larq_compute_engine/tflite/benchmark/lce_benchmark_model and bazel-bin/examples/lce_minimal. The bazel-bin directory inside the lce-volume is a soft link to the build artifacts directory outside the lce-volume. As a result, in order to be able to access the inference binaries on the host machine, you need to manually copy them from the bazel-bin to the lce-volume directory. To do so, run the following command from the LCE root directory:

cp bazel-bin/larq_compute_engine/tflite/benchmark/lce_benchmark_model .

In the next section, we describe how to transfer and execute the inference binaries on your Android device.

Run inference

To run the inference with a Larq converted model on an Android phone, please follow these steps on your host machine (replace the lce_benchmark_model with your desired inference binary):

(1) Install the Android Debug Bridge (adb) on your host machine.

(2) Follow the instructions here to enable USB debugging on your Android phone.

(3) Connect your phone and run the following command to confirm that your host computer is connected to the phone:

adb devices

(4) Transfer the LCE inference binary to your phone:

adb push lce_benchmark_model  /data/local/tmp

(5) Make the binary executable:

adb shell chmod +x /data/local/tmp/lce_benchmark_model

(6) Transfer the converted .tflite model file to your phone:

adb push binarynet.tflite /data/local/tmp

(7) Run the inference:

adb shell /data/local/tmp/lce_benchmark_model \
    --graph=/data/local/tmp/binarynet.tflite \