Amazon’s New Fire HD 8 Tablets Add ‘Tap to Alexa’ Buttons for Voice Assistant Tasks
Amazon’s new range of Fire HD 8 tablets enables users to use Alexa without speaking, among other upgrades. The new “Tap to Alexa” feature offers a selection of touchscreen buttons with commands for the voice assistant, as well as connected accessibility options for those with mobility limitations and a text-to-speech tool for users with impaired speech.
Tap to Alexa
Tap to Alexa lays out a dashboard of everyday Alexa tasks on the screen. Users can simply touch a button to hear the weather or announcements. They can also set up custom commands, making their own buttons for orders they might want to issue to Alexa. Those who have trouble speaking or moving to a room with an Echo or other Alexa device can thus have full access to the voice assistant literally at their fingertips. The feature can also integrate with Switch access, so those with major mobility limits can flip a switch to act as a tap on the screen. The tablets also come with a text-to-speech tool so people can type out a sentence and have the tablet say the words aloud. The phrases can also be saved as their own tiles that will repeat the saved sentence with a single tap.
The new Fire HD 8 models also boast other upgrades and improvements over the ones released two years ago, including 30% faster performance and a lighter but more durable design and start at $100. The Fire HD 8 Plus also incorporated wireless charging and a higher-quality camera though the starting cost is $120. The rollout offers new versions of the Fire HD 8 Kids as well as the Kids Pro variant for slightly older children. The $150 tablets for younger users come with more robust cases, a year-long Amazon Kids_ subscription and a two-year warranty, not to mention Disney Princess and Mickey Mouse-themed design choices for $10 more. All of the new tablets will start shipping next month.