Amazon unveiled a new Fire HD 8 tablet on Thursday. The new tablet is more of a slight upgrade over its predecessor, with increased base storage options and more RAM. It costs $90. The most compelling feature, however, sits inside its software.
Amazon said the new Fire HD 8 with Fire OS 5 supports the Alexa voice assistant, which is also available on Fire TV sticks and through Amazon Echo devices. A user just needs to long press the hold button to pull her up, before asking whatever it is they want.
Alexa will also display information from Alexa on the tablet’s screen. “Alexa provides natural-language responses, combined with on-screen information on the tablet’s display,” Amazon explained. “Third parties can publish Alexa skills, so you can ask Alexa to play music from services including Pandora and Spotify, and turn off the light or adjust the temperature on compatible smart home devices.”
Current Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 owners need not worry about being left in the dust. Alexa will also eventually find her way into the current generation of those devices when Amazon rolls out a free over-the-air update in the “coming months.”
It’s progress for folks who hope Alexa may one day spread to other platforms, too, and perhaps a skilled hacker can at least bring Alexa to Android soon. The Fire HD 8 is available for pre-order beginning today in 16GB/32GB flavors and will begin shipping on September 21.