Amazon brings its ‘Faucet to Alexa’ accessibility function to Fireplace tablets for the primary time • TechCrunch

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Amazon right this moment announced it’s bringing a brand new accessibility choice to its new line of Fire tablets with the addition of “Faucet to Alexa” performance —  a approach to work together with the corporate’s Alexa voice assistant with out truly talking. The function was first introduced in 2018 on the Echo Present, as a method for these with speech disabilities to work together with Alexa by tapping shortcuts on the sensible machine’s dwelling display. Now, it’s obtainable on the newly introduced Fire HD 8 tablets, launched right this moment.

Whereas Amazon had bumped up the specs for its 10-inch tablets last year, the Fireplace HD 8 line hadn’t gotten an replace since 2020. That modified with right this moment’s introduction of 4 new fashions: Fireplace HD 8, Fireplace HD 8 Plus, Fireplace HD 8 Youngsters Professional, and Fireplace HD 8 Youngsters.

The Youngsters tablets embody subscriptions to Amazon Kids+, a service offering a curated assortment of ad-free books, video games, movies and apps in addition to parental controls, a carrying case, and a two-year assure on damages. Youngsters Professional tablets additionally include entry to a digital storefront the place children can ask to buy ebooks, video games, and apps.

Total, the replace is a reasonably minor one. The retail big says the brand new Fireplace HD 8 gadgets are thinner, lighter, and sooner because of a 30% sooner processor, which delivers as much as 13 hours of battery life, and now weigh 11.88 ounces — barely down from the 12.52 ounces of the prior model. It measures 7.94 by 5.4 by 0.37 inches, only a hair down from the 7.95 x 5.39 x 0.38 inches of the past model.

The HD 8 tablets additionally embody USB-C charging, 2GB of RAM, and decisions of both 32GB or 64GB storage choices, expandable as much as 1TB with microSD. The Plus model provides wi-fi charging with Qi-certified chargers, 3GB RAM, and a sharper, 5MP rear digicam.

Picture Credit: Amazon

As a substitute of the specs, the spotlight with this launch is the addition of Tap to Alexa, a instrument that permits shoppers to make use of Alexa by way of contact. The function had but to be made obtainable on Amazon tablets till right this moment’s launch, the company says.

With Tap to Alexa, pill house owners can faucet on-screen tiles to rapidly entry widespread requests, like setting an alarm, getting the climate, enjoying music, or listening to the information, Amazon explains. Customers can even create customized tiles for his or her most frequent interactions, like launching their favourite music, for instance.

Plus, the function can be utilized to create customized “Textual content to Speech” tiles of their most regularly used phrases and phrases, personalized with their very own icons and colours to assist determine and arrange them on the display.

The corporate moreover famous the “Textual content to Speech” function is new with the HD 8 gadgets, and helps those that have speech difficulties or who’re nonverbal or nonspeaking. Amazon pointed to knowledge from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association which discovered that over 2 million folks within the U.S. have expressive language disabilities and depend on augmentative and different communication gadgets to generate speech.

One other new accessibility function included with the Fireplace HD 8 lineup permits prospects to make use of a suitable Bluetooth change to navigate and work together with their pill, which helps these with restricted mobility use these gadgets. This function works with Faucet to Alexa, too.

The tablets additionally help different normal accessibility options like a display reader, display magnifier, closed captioning, high-contrast textual content, shade inversion, shade correction, and the power to transform stereo to mono audio.

The Fireplace HD 8 might be $99.99 in Black, Denim, and Rose colours. The Fireplace HD 8 Plus is available in a dimpled end in Grey and is offered beginning at $119.99. Accent circumstances can be found for Fireplace HD 8 and Fireplace HD 8 Plus tablets in Black, Denim, Grey, and Rose colours for $29.99.

The Fireplace HD 8 Youngsters, aimed toward children 3-7, can be obtainable for pre-order beginning at $149.99 in Black with a 32GB or 54GB storage possibility and a Blue or Purple case that features an adjustable kickstand that doubles as a deal with. There’s additionally a brand new Disney Design bundle for the Fireplace HD 8 Youngsters that includes Mickey Mouse or Disney Princess circumstances for $159.99.

The Fireplace HD 8 Youngsters Professional, which is for teenagers 6-12, additionally comes with 32GB of storage at $189.99 with case choices in Cyber Sky, Rainbow Universe, and Howdy Teal. Each Youngsters tablets embody a yr of Amazon Youngsters+, usually $4.99/month.

The tablets will ship subsequent month.

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