Yakety yak, Fire tablets talk back.
Or at least they will, with the forthcoming release of a new, Alexa-enabled Fire HD 8, and an over-the-air (OTA) software update to all current Fire, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 models in the coming months.
Amazon said the addition of its Cloud-based digital assistant will allow users to command their tablets to play a song, open a game, say a joke, read a book aloud, provide the latest news and weather, and control compatible smart devices.
Alexa will be accessed by long-pressing the tablet’s home button, and additional capabilities will be delivered in subsequent OTA updates, the e-tailer said.
As for the all-new Fire HD 8, set to ship on Sept. 21, enhancements include:
*a 4,750 mAh battery to provide up to 12 hours of mixed use;
*a 50 percent increase in RAM, to 1.5GB, for faster performance; and
*double the onboard storage, and support for up to 200GB of expandable MicroSD card storage.
The tablet will be offered in 16GB and 32GB variants for $90 and $120, respectively, with ads ($105 and $135 without), and will be available in black, blue, magenta and tangerine.
“We believe in a different approach to tablets — providing premium products at non-premium prices — and customers love it,” said Amazon’s Fire tablet general manager Kevin Keith, who cited a better than 100 percent increase in Fire tablet sales year over year.
Pre-ordering begins today on Amazon.com.