Amazon puts 'hands-free' Alexa voice assistant on its new tablet

Gwen Vasquez
September 20, 2017

As it name implies, you don't have to be physically holding the Fire HD 10 to invoke Alexa. It even features a hands-free integration of Alexa, instead of the touch-to-talk of other Fire devices.

The more premium aluminium shell is gone, though, swapped for plastic.

UPDATED its Fire HD 10 tablet with a Full HD display, quad-core internals and Alexa hands-free support for the first time.

It has been a while since Amazon launched a new Fire tablet, but today the online retailer has unveiled the all-new Fire HD 10.

"For less than $150, the all-new Fire HD 10 offers a lovely 1080p Full HD display, faster performance, more storage, and up to 10 hours of battery life", Amazon general manager Kevin Keith explains.

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We watched a little video on the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) and the display was impressively punchy, especially when you compare it to a lot of the competition around this price point.

The sturdy construction should make this tablet ideal toddler fodder, too - it'll survive a beating better than the ultra-delicate iPad Pro you had to take out a second mortgage to buy, anyway. If the Fire HD 10's default 32GB of storage isn't enough, Amazon also offers a 64GB model for $189.99. Just be sure to check for a software update if you buy one: Amazon says hands-free Alexa support will require a patch that arrives in sync with the tablet itself.

One new function is "hands-free" Alexa, which means you can call up Alexa without opening a separate application.

The technology giant introduced Alexa to its other tablets and its Fire TV streaming devices earlier this year - the assistant having previously only been available through the Amazon Echo smart home speaker. Anything you can do with an Echo Dot or an Echo you can do with the Fire HD 10, with the addition of handy visual cards like weekly weather reports and Wikipedia summaries. Sure, the Amazon App Store features essential apps like Spotify and Facebook, but without access to the full Google Play Store, many simply aren't available (technically minded people can side-load any missing Android apps, however). It's not a bright display, but what are you really expecting for half the cost of an a 9.7-inch iPad and a fraction of the cost for a 10.5-inch iPad Pro?

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