Amidst some of the big smartphone announcements being made this time of year, Amazon has announced a couple new products as part of their portfolio. “New” might be a bit of a stretch though as the new Amazon Fire HD 8 and Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition really just represent a refresh of existing products and there is not a whole lot that was refreshed.
The new Fire HD 8 from Amazon comes equipped with an 8-inch display portrayed as HD with a 1280 x 800 resolution, 1.5GB of RAM and options for 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage that can be expanded by up to 400GB with a microSD card. The battery is rated to last about 10 hours in typical use according to Amazon and the device has a 720p front-facing camera for video chatting and a 2MP rear-facing camera.
The focus of Amazon’s updates for their smaller tablet is more on helping it double as a home assistant device. Amazon built-in Alexa hands-free support and new mode called “Show Mode”. With Show Mode, the Fire HD 8 can effectively be converted into an Echo Show device. To make it even more useful, Amazon also has a new Show Mode Charging Dock that can be used to prop up the Fire HD 8 to make it easier to see and use. The new dock will automatically put the Fire HD 8 in Show Mode and keeps the unit charging to get around the 10-hour limitation of battery.
Alongside the main Fire HD 8 tablet, Amazon also released a new kid-oriented version of the device, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. From a hardware standpoint, the two devices are the same. However, Amazon wrapped the Kids Edition in a more durable and more colorful case – available in pink, yellow or blue – to help provide protection. Amazon also includes a no-questions-asked two-year warranty with the Kids Edition, recognizing the increased odds of breakage or damage to a device used primarily for kids.
For the software on the Kids Edition, Amazon says they have overhauled their FreeTime interface. Some design changes are intended to make navigation easier. New titles have also been added to the library available through Amazon FreeTime or FreeTime Unlimited. Amazon also announced the availability of a Spanish language option for FreeTime and a huge chunk of the titles that are available. The new FreeTime updates will also be available on other devices starting on October 4th.
Amazon is accepting pre-orders starting today and says new units will start shipping on October 4th. The base price for a Fire HD 8 – available in Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red and Canary Yellow – is $79.99. A regular case in matching colors is available for $29.99. The new Show Mode Charging Dock is priced at $39.99, but ifyou bundle that with a new Fire HD 8, Amazon will sell you both for $94.99. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition carries a $129.99 price tag and Amazon is currently offering a bundle of two of the devices for $194.98.