Amazon today introduced a new Fire HD tablet, and the new Android-powered slate has a feature that’s a first on a mobile device: Alexa.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 offers specs like an 8-inch 1280x800 display, quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and 16GB or 32GB of storage, which you can expand upon with a microSD card. It’s also got 2-megapixel rear and VGA front cameras and a 4,750mAh battery that offers up to 12 hours of mixed use battery life.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Fire HD 8, though, is Alexa support. Alexa is the digital assistant found on devices like Amazon’s Echo, and it can be used to do things like play a song, launch an app, check the weather, answer questions, and set a timer. To invoke Alexa on the Fire HD 8, you need to connect to Wi-Fi and then long-press the device’s home button.
Unfortunately, Alexa won’t be available on the Fire HD 8 at launch. Amazon says that the new Fire HD 8, the Fire HD 10, the Fire, and last year’s Fire HD 8 tablets will all gain Alexa support “in the coming months” via a software update.
The new Amazon Fire HD 8 is available for pre-order today ahead of its Sept. 21 launch date. It starts at $89.99 for the 16GB model with special offers — aka personalized lock screen ads — and goes up to $119.99 for the 32GB model with special offers. If you don’t want Amazon’s special offers, you can pay $104.99 for the 16GB model or $134.99 for the 32GB model to avoid them.
Finally, color options for the new Fire HD 8 include black, blue, magenta, and tangerine.
The new Fire HD 8 looks like a nice entry in Amazon’s line of Fire tablets, offering a durable body and affordable price tag. However, perhaps the biggest feature of the Fire HD 8 is Alexa, giving the device a digital assistant like Android and iOS tablets have had with Google Now and Siri. And what’s better is that if you’ve got one of the three other tablets that’ll be updated to Alexa, you’ll be able to enjoy Amazon’s digital assistant without having to upgrade to a new device.