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Hands-free Alexa coming to Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets
- Amazon is rolling out hands-free Alexa functionality to Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets.
- Currently, only the Amazon Fire HD 10 (7th generation) has the hands-free Alexa feature.
- Still, the hands-free Alexa feature will still be a better experience on the Fire HD 10, because it will work with the screen off and on battery power.
If you own the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet, you enjoy a feature that other Amazon tablets don’t have: the ability to use hands-free Alexa by activating the virtual assistant without touching the tablet. But don’t get too smug, because it looks like your days of exclusivity are over in that regard, as Amazon is rolling out a very similar feature to its Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets.
As of right now, to use Alexa on the Fire 7 or Fire HD 8, you have to pick up the tablet and hold the Home button until you see a blue line. Then you can issue your command to Alexa. But with this new update, you won’t have to hold the Home button anymore; just make sure the screen is on and say something like, “Alexa, play some music.”
What’s more, you can even call on Alexa when the screen is off, assuming the tablet is connected to a power source. If your Fire 7 or Fire HD 8 is running on battery power, you will have to make sure the screen is active before issuing your command.
So really, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is still the superior model as it can hear commands if the screen is off and its running on battery power. However, it’s nice that the other, less-expensive models in the tablet line now have similar functionality.
Although having a hands-free feature on a tablet is nice, it’s certainly not a replacement for a dedicated smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Show. Smart speaker hardware has better sound and a better mic array to hear your voice from a further distance. However, if you don’t want or can’t afford a smart speaker, using your tablet as a poor man’s Amazon Echo can now work in a pinch.
According to Amazon, the new feature is rolling out to Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets this week. Let us know in the comments if you’ve got the feature and how it works for you!