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Tablet sales are plummeting, but Amazon hopes you’ll buy its new dirt-cheap models anyway

September 6th, 2018 at 7:22 PM
Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon has unveiled a pair of new tablets today that, while we all know tablet sales in general are sinking like a stone, the company hopes might nevertheless still hold some appeal for casual, budget-minded buyers.

Amazon’s newly announced Fire HD 8 tablet, for example, costs just $80 and sports an upgraded camera as well as hands-free Alexa. That’s the same price as last year’s model, but it comes with the addition of a 2MP front-facing camera that can handle 720p video, as well as either 16 or 32GB of storage with support for as much as 400GB more via a microSD card. The internal specs, however, are unchanged from last year’s edition of the tablet.

Among the overall highlights:

As far as the display goes, you’ve got an 8-inch screen, with a 1280×800 HD display. Inside, there’s a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM. Battery life is slightly worse than last year (10 hours, compared to 12) which may be thanks to the new Alexa hands-free mode. You can now ask Alexa to play a song on the tablet, pause a movie, video call someone and more using just your voice even when the screen is on standby.

“Fire HD 10 customers love having easy, hands-free access with Alexa, and we’re excited to bring that same experience to the all-new Fire HD 8,” said Amazon Devices vice president Kevin Keith.

The tablet comes in four color options — Black, Marine Blue, Punch Red, and Canary Yellow, and it’s already available for pre-order here. It starts shipping October 4.

In a related announcement, meanwhile, Amazon also announced a Kids Edition of the Fire HD 8 today, with a bundle that includes different brightly colored bumpers and a two-year guarantee. The kids edition also includes a year’s worth of FreeTime Unlimited, a context package that includes books, videos and games.

Speaking of FreeTime, Amazon also today announced a new Spanish language experience within that content package that offers kids access to over 1,000 premium, age-appropriate books, videos, apps, games, and eventually Audible books. All in Spanish and at no additional cost to the subscription. Plus, Amazon says, kids now also have access to thousands of kid-friendly and hand-curated websites and videos in FreeTime.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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