Previously, users of these devices had to long press the home button to access Alexa, so this new feature should make things a lot easier.
Heads up, Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 owners: Accessing Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa on your tablet is about to get a lot easier.
When your device is connected to power or when the screen is in use, you can now use your voice to command Alexa to play a song, turn off your connected lights, start or pause a movie, or handle something else you need help with – no button press necessary. Amazon said this feature is rolling out to 2017-model Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets via a free, over-the-air software update this week.
Previously, users of these devices had to long press the home button to access Alexa.
Amazon first introduced hands-free access to Alexa on its Fire HD 10 tablets in September. Fire HD 10 users can access the virtual assistant with their voice while the screen is on standby, even if the device isn’t connected to power.
Both the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 earned “excellent” ratings in PCMag’s reviews. We called the $49.99 Fire 7 the “best tablet under $50, by a long shot,” and noted it’s “particularly good as a portable video player” and a “shoo-in for a child’s first tablet.” The $79.99 Fire HD 8 earned our coveted Editors’ Choice Award and praise as “the best sub-$100 tablet available right now.”
“Amazon’s latest Fire HD 8 tablet is a great value for media consumption, as long as you can live without access to Google Play,” we wrote in our review.
The $149.99 Fire HD 10 also earned an excellent rating in PCMag’s review, garnering praise for its “sharp 1080p display, solid overall performance, and an easy-to-use UI.”