It may still be unclear if Microsoft, Apple, Google and Samsung have Surface Pro, iPad, Pixel and Galaxy Tab S-series upgrades in the pipeline for the upcoming holiday season, but the other tech colossus continues to do its thing by unveiling an “all-new” Fire tablet with minimal pre-release buzz.
Amazon of course didn’t stray too far from the design of last year’s Fire HD 8 in creating a considerably longer-lasting, thicker and heavier version. The 2016 Fire HD 8 (no unnecessary name change here) purportedly offers up to 12 hours of “mixed-use” battery life, measuring 9.2mm thick, and tipping the scales at 341 grams.
Twice more durable than the iPad mini 4, or so its makers claim, the 720p-capable 8-incher is substantially cheaper too, at $90 (with special offers) in a beefed-up entry-level 16GB configuration, and $120 and up when accommodating 32 gigs of data.
While its mysterious as always quad-core 1.3GHz processor doesn’t sound up to 2016 standards, there’s at least an extra half gig of RAM on deck (1.5 in total), with the 2015’s 5MP rear camera downgraded to 2 megapixels, as someone finally realizes nobody takes photos on tablets.
What the revised Fire HD 8 does promise to seamlessly take after an OTA software update in a few months is voice commands. That’s right, Alexa is coming to the Fire family, including the HD 10, lowest-end 7-inch variant and previous-gen HD 8, listening and promptly answering to a wide array of questions, as well as providing hands-free controls to music, alarms, calendar events and smart home objects. How cool is that?