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Amazon announces next-gen Fire HD 8 tablets with ‘Tap to Alexa’ accessibility feature

the fire hd 8 plus was leaning on its wireless charging dock on a wooden table next to a couch

Amazon has unveiled a new line of 8-inch Fire HD tablets — marking the wider availability of an accessibility feature that allows customers to access Alexa with touch instead of voice.

The next generation of the best-selling Fire HD 8 family includes four new models with strengthened aluminosilicate glass displays and hexa-core processors that make them thinner, lighter, stronger, and 30% faster than their predecessors (with a $10 price increase apiece). All four can be pre-ordered now and will start shipping in October.

The base level Fire HD 8(opens in a new tab) (From $99.99) lasts up to 13 hours straight, which adds an extra hour of battery life over the previous version, with the ability to fully charge in five hours. USB-C charging support, 2GB RAM and 32 or 64GB storage options (expandable by up to 1TB) carry over from the 2020 version. It is available in black, denim and rose.

For $20 more, the Fire HD 8 Plus(opens in a new tab) adds an extra gigabyte of RAM, boosts the rear camera from 2 to 5 MP, and adds a 3-hour charge time in addition to wireless charging support. A new wireless charging station (available in a bundle(opens in a new tab)) allows it to serve as a smart display on the counter in show mode. It only comes in grey.

the fire hd 8 plus was leaning on its wireless charging dock on a wooden table next to a couch

A wireless charging dock (sold separately) turns the Fire HD 8 Plus into a smart display in Show mode.
Credit: Amazon

The Fire HD 8 Kids is designed for children aged 3 to 7 years(opens in a new tab) (From $149.99) comes with 1-year Amazon Kids+, 2-year worry-free warranty, built-in child controls, and a childproof case. The latter comes in blue and purple by default, but customers have the option to upgrade to Disney Design Bundles with Mickey Mouse and Disney Princess cases for $10 more.

Meanwhile, the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro(opens in a new tab) ($149.99) for kids ages 6-12 provides access to a digital store where kids can make eBook, app, and game requests. The case comes in three designs: Rainbow Universe, Cyber ​​Sky, and Hello Teal.

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Each of the new Fire HD 8 tablets comes with Tap to Alexa(opens in a new tab)‘, which enables a dashboard with touch-based shortcuts to popular Alexa commands and custom requests. Instead of verbally asking the smart assistant to perform tasks — like playing music or checking the weather — users can press . Screen tiles enabled with this functionality.

The Tap to Alexa feature, previously exclusive to Echo Show devices, is now available on every Fire 7, Fire HD 8, and Fire HD 10 tablet released after 2019, with added text-to-speech – and Bluetooth switching capabilities for non-verbal or non-speaking users and those living with mobility differences.


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“We brought Tap to Alexa to Fire tablets along with offerings like text to speech to make smart home technology more accessible to more people,” said Juliana Tarpey, senior product manager for Amazon’s Alexa for Everyone team. in a press release. “After setting up their devices, customers can directly ask Alexa to play their favorite TV show, turn on the lights, or help them communicate with friends and loved ones with just a tap.

“It may seem simple, and it is,” Tarpey added. “It provides easier access to the benefits of Alexa to support all of our customers.”

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association estimates that over 2 million people in the US with limited expression language use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), which includes handheld devices and tablets with symbols that generate speech digitally.

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