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You are here: Home / Computing / Amazon Updates the Fire HD 10
Fire HD 10: Amazon Gives Alexa a Bigger Role
Fire HD 10: Amazon Gives Alexa a Bigger Role
By Matt Day Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
2017's latest tablet will include the capability to summon Alexa with voice commands. The Amazon Fire HD 10, announced Tuesday, will let users call up the digital assistant by saying "Alexa," the same trigger that activates the software on Echo speakers.

Previous Amazon tablets required people to press and hold the home button to get Alexa's attention.

The new Alexa hands-free mode, available only when connected to Wi-Fi, is accompanied in the refreshed tablet with other improvements: a souped-up processor, 32 gigabytes of internal storage, and a 10.1-inch screen capable of displaying video in 1080p resolution.

It also brings a price cut.

The new Fire HD 10 starts at $150. The previous iteration of Amazon's 10-inch tablet, released in 2015, cost $230.

Amazon's priority in its device lineup, which also includes 7- and 8-inch tablets and the Kindle e-reader line, has been to keep the costs of the devices low. That's a bet that more buyers will lead to more subscribers to Amazon's Prime loyalty program, which includes music, videos and free-shipping perks.

The latest tablet model comes stocked with Amazon's house apps, and battery life of up to 10 hours, Amazon says.

Kevin Keith, a general manager with Amazon's devices group, didn't say whether the new Alexa capabilities would make their way to other Amazon tablet lines.

Amazon's low-cost push has earned the company a greater slice of a shrinking pie. The tablet market has been hammered in recent years as consumers hang onto devices they've already purchased or opt for smartphones with larger screens that can double as video streaming and reading devices.

By researcher IDC's gauge, global tablet sales declined for 11 consecutive quarters through June.

Amazon likely sold about 2.4 million tablets during the second quarter of the year, up 52 percent from a year earlier and good enough for 6.4 percent of the global market, IDC estimates.

Only Apple, Samsung and China's Huawei sold more tablets, IDC says.

"We've seen a lot of continued growth even with smartphones' " inroads, Keith said. He attributed Amazon's gains in part to demand for the devices as mobile entertainment hubs.

The new Fire HD 10 comes in three colors -- black, marine blue and punch red -- each with matching protective fabric covers for $40.

A fourth color -- cobalt purple -- made the cut for a fabric cover, but not the device itself.

The new device will start shipping to consumers Oct. 11. It will be available in the U.S., Britain, Germany and Japan.

© 2017 Seattle Times under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.

Image credit: Product shot by Amazon.

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