Amazon refreshes lineup of low-priced tablets, new kids model

Isaac Cain
May 19, 2017

Both Fire Tablets are available for pre-order starting today, according to Amazon. "The Fire 7 has an improved 7" IPS display, increased battery life up to 8 hours, 1GB RAM, improved connectivity with single-band and dual-band Wi-Fi, and Alexa voice control. We run through the key features below. The tablet's storage capacity can always be expanded up to 256 GB with a microSD card.

The new tablets will ship June 7, Amazon said. There's a 2-megapixel rear camera with 720p HD video recording and a front-facing VGA camera for video calls. Users can also temporarily stop notifications by putting Alexa into "do not disturb" mode via voice command or the Alexa app. They pack 16GB and 32GHB of storage respectively, there aren't any "special offer" ads with these. It has an higher resolution than the Fire 7's, with 1280×800 pixels.

The all-new Fire 7 Kids Edition and all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition appear to be the same tablets as above but with a number of child-friendly adaptations. That should mean that films have more of a "boom" to them when you watch without headphones. Fire 7 protective covers are $24.99 and Fire HD 8 covers are $29.99.

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The company described the program on a support webpage for Alexa developers. The price covers a 90-day limited warranty. Both tablets also support offline downloads for Prime members, Netflix plans, and Showtime subscribers, plus On Deck, a feature that automatically downloads popular Prime movies, TV shows, and Amazon Original Series so customers never have to worry about being caught without entertainment. They feature a two-year free replacement with no questions asked, and include one year of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited kids content. The service is aimed at kids aged 3-12. Alexa isn't included on these models, however. The new Fire 7 is ridiculously cheap in comparison and unlike the new iPad, the new Amazon tablets actually got thinner and lighter this time around.

Amazon's Alexa is all set to get a massive boost as far as functionality is concerned. But now your Amazon Echo device can inform you via push notifications.

Alexa will come pre-installed on the new Fire 7 and Fire HD 8. Amazon has found a niche in the tablet market with lower-cost models, while Apple, Samsung and Microsoft chase professionals with higher-end devices.

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