Amazon brings Alexa voice assistant to its tablets with upgraded Fire HD 8

​Amazon is kicking off the launch of its Alexa voice assistant on tablets, with an upgraded Fire HD 8 at a budget price.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
(Image: Amazon)

Amazon announced on Thursday an upgraded Fire HD 8 tablet with improved specifications and the arrival of its Alexa voice assistant to the mobile platform for the first time.

Now available to purchase on Amazon, the Fire HD 8's price has been dropped to $90 from $150 with the same 8-inch display and 1,280x800-pixel resolution, along with the addition of a larger 4,750mAh battery with a claimed 12 hours of charge, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, and a microSD slot for upgraded storage.

If you're expecting a beast of tablet to take on the iPad or Galaxy Tab -- think again. It's just not Amazon's specialty. However, the addition of the Alexa voice assistant is a promising feature, as we've seen with the hot sales and positive reviews of Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo speakers.

Alexa, working similar to Google Now and Siri, can serve users with voice-prompted information like weather, news, and interestingly enough, an Uber. Unlike with the Echo speakers, users will have to press a virtual button to prompt Alexa, rather than just being able to say her name to launch the voice assistant.

Amazon further announced Alexa will come to the entire line of Fire tablets through Fire OS 5, but it didn't provide a timeline for the upgrade. Like the rest of the Fire tablet line, the new Fire HD 8 won't ship with Alexa from the start.

The new Fire HD 8 tablet will begin shipping Sept. 21.

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