Amazon added to its lineup of products again today, just a few weeks after introducing a slew of Echo products. This time, the focus is on tablets—the new Fire HD 10 tablet upgrades the previous version with a faster processor, longer battery life, and for the first time, USB-C charging.
The new tablet will come in a regular edition and a kids edition, but the core technology remains the same on both. Let’s get the specs out of the way: it has a 10.1-inch FHD touchscreen, an updated octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage that you can expand with its microSD card.
Amazon increased the battery life to 12 hours, up from the 10 hours of life the previous Fire HD10 could get. The tablet can charge fully in four hours thanks to its new USB-C port. This replaces the microUSB port that the previous model had and is arguably the most exciting thing about the Fire HD 10. It’s the first Amazon device with a USB-C port for charging, giving us hope that we could see the company ditch microUSB altogether in the future.
On the software side, the Fire HD 10 runs Android P and has all of the features the previous model did, including hands-free Alexa (should you choose to enable that feature). Amazon also added a new picture-in-picture feature that minimizes certain video apps, so you can still watch video content while using other programs like your calendar, a notes app, and others. The feature will be limited by the supporting video apps, though, and Amazon Prime Video and Netflix currently work with it.
The Fire HD 10 Kids Edition has the same UI as Amazon’s existing tablets for kids, making it more accessible and easier to use for children. The tablet also comes with a kid-friendly case, an extended warranty, and a one-year complimentary FreeTime Unlimited.
Amazon has added a lot to FreeTime Unlimited over the years and continues to do so. The kid-focused, $4.99-per-month ($2.99-per-month for Prime members) content subscription includes thousands of shows, movies, books, audiobooks, and other media that kids can consume without parents needing to filter out inappropriate materials.
In addition to being available on the kids’ versions of Fire tablets, Amazon is also bringing FreeTime Unlimited to Fire TV Sticks starting today. That means kids can watch shows and movies through FreeTime Unlimited, as well as Prime Video content and content that parents deem suitable from their personal libraries. All of this will be in one place on TVs with connected Fire TV Sticks.
The kids’ Kindle
Amazon also announced a new Kindle for kids. The company is banking on the idea that parents may want a dedicated device that both encourages children to read without distractions and has a ton of kid-friendly books on it. This new Kindle isn’t new at all—it’s the same $89 Kindle that the company updated a few months ago (which unfortunately needs to charge via microUSB, just like every other Kindle).
Like the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, the Kindle Kids Edition has a UI that filters only children’s literature. If you have FreeTime Unlimited, your child will see the thousands of books available through that service. As they read more, the software will bring books that your children may like to the forefront, making it easier for them to find their next read.
Amazon also included new software features for kids that can help them read better. Kids can earn reading badges depending on how often they read, the types of books they read, and more. A new feature will put a quick definition of challenging words between the lines of the book, which means kids don’t have to touch the screen to look them up. Kids can, however, long-press a word to bring up its full dictionary card with definition, pronunciation, and more information. Doing so will also add that word to their vocabulary list and automatically create a digital flash card for it, so kids can easily review the words they want to learn more about.
A Kindle specifically designed for kids may seem redundant, but the specific software changes could make it easier for kids to find books they love and read more. A kid-specific Kindle also removes the distractions that a Fire HD tablet has—kids can’t watch videos or play games on a device that only allows for reading.
But such a device also gives Amazon yet another device to push its FreeTime Unlimited service. Each Kindle Kids Edition comes with one year of the service free, so parents may continue to pay for it after that year is up if their child loves the vast library of books they have at their fingertips.
All of Amazon’s new devices are available for preorder today and will ship starting October 30. The new Fire HD 10 costs $149, while the Kids Edition—with the special case, extended warranty, and one year of FreeTime Unlimited—costs $199. The new Kindle Kids Edition bundle costs $109.