Amazon Fire HD 8 gains always-on Alexa capabilities

Amazon today announced that its Fire HD 8 tablets will gain the hands-free Alexa experience that previously arrived for the Fire HD 10 model. Indeed, the refreshed model lets users tap into the Alexa smarts without having to first wake up the tablet.

With an always-on Alexa users can ask the digital assistant for help from across the room or without physically touching the device. Battery life goes down a bit because of this, but Amazon still touts it at 10 hours of mixed usage. The previous generation was listed at 12 hours; the always-on option can be disabled.

The new version of the Fire HD 8 offers up a quad-core processor, 16GB/32GB internal storage, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. With microSD card support (up to 400GB), the tablet also features tech often found in Amazon’s other models. This includes Dolby Atmos Audio, dual-band Wi-Fi, and and Show Mode.

The new Fire HD 8 sells for as low as $80 (with ads and recommendations) and begins shipping on October 4, 2018. As is the case with other devices sold exclusively through Amazon, there are ad-free versions which run about $15 more.

Amazon also adds a Fire HD 8 Kids Edition to its roster, bringing about a child-friendly experience full of fun, practical, and educational software. Priced $130, the Fire HD 8 Edition offers 32GB of space and comes with a “kid-proof” case and a two year warranty.

 

The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition also gets kid-friendly Audible books in FreeTime Unlimited and boasts a new FreeTime design. With dedicated rows based on content type, it should make for a more intuitive experience and easier location of titles.

Last, but not least, Amazon announced it now offers FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited in Spanish. Parents can now choose to enable Spanish content in their child’s FreeTime profile, opening access to more than 1,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational
apps, games, websites, and more.