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Amazon's new Fire HD 8 is its first tablet with Alexa

Older Fire HD tablets will get voice control as well.
Amazon's new Fire HD 8 is its first tablet with Alexa
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|September 8, 2016 9:00 AM

It's September, and that means it's time for fresh Amazon tablet hardware... only this year, software is the real star of the show. The internet retailer has introduced a new version of the Fire HD 8 that represents its first tablet (or really, mobile device) with Alexa voice control. If you're in the US, you can use Amazon's familiar assistant to play media, launch apps, deliver news and otherwise save you a load of screen taps. The feature will reach the previous HD 8, the basic Fire tablet and the HD 10 through an update in the "coming months," so don't feel pressure to toss out your old device if you're only looking for Alexa support.

That's not to downplay the hardware itself. The tweaked HD 8 is a considerably better value between 50 percent more RAM (1.5GB), double the built-in expandable storage (16GB with a 32GB option) and a longer 12-hour battery life. You'll still have to put up with a modest 1,280 x 800 display and a so-so 1.3GHz quad-core processor. However, you might not mind those when you see the price. Amazon will sell the new tablet from September 21st starting at $90/£90, with pre-orders opening up today. That's much less than the $150 outgoing model, and inexpensive enough that it might tempt you to skip the entry-level Fire.

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Amazon's new Fire HD 8 is its first tablet with Alexa