Amazon has added its Alexa voice technology to its new Fire 7 Tablets, allowing users of the virtual assistant to carry it around the house. The Fire 7 is equipped with a 7-inch 1,024 x 600 display and is one of the most cost-efficient tablets costing only £50.
The android tablet is available with either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by 256GB through the microSD card slot, and comes with a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and claimed a battery life of eight hours.
— CNET (@CNET) May 17, 2017
The big upgrade to these tablets is the addition of Alexa technology that features on the Amazon Echo. You can launch this new feature by holding the home key, unlike the original Alexa products which you woke up by saying, Alexa. Amazon said making the tablets listen out for the wake-up phrase would have affected battery life. The premise of the AI remains the same on the tablets, you can tell it to play videos, music or audiobooks, read the news headlines and the weather.
Alexa, which competes with Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, has been a surprise success for Amazon since the original launch of the Echo speaker in 2014. It has subsequently added it to its internet-connected Fire TV devices and allowed other manufacturers to include it in their own devices.
On the Fire tablets, Alexa is able to respond in exactly the same way to the Echo, but it also has a visual response on the screen. Asking for soccer scores, for example, will display information about where games are being played, or a weather forecast will provide information for additional days. Alexa can also be summoned to open apps such as Facebook and Pinterest for those addicted to social media.
The overall update of the tablet includes boosting the battery life and display on the seven-inch Fire 7, which costs £49.99, and dropping the price on the eight-inch Fire HD 8 model to £79.99. Older devices will receive Alexa through a software update in the coming weeks. Kids editions of the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8, which cost £99.99 and £129.99, come with a two-year warranty, a year of free downloads of children’s movies, games, apps and books, and a protective case.
The new tablets are set to go on sale on June 7.