Amazon unveils new Fire HD 8 tablet, with improved specs, but still looking to compete against Apple mostly on price
‘We believe in a different approach to tablets—providing premium products at non-premium prices—and customers love it’ – Kevin Keith, General Manager, Fire Tablets
The day after Apple held its iPhone 7 event, and people are talking more about what Apple took away (headphone jack) than what new it is giving (more storage and two cameras on the ‘Plus” model), Amazon should decide to announce a new version of its Fire HD tablet. I’m sure the timing was no coincidence.
The low-end model costs only $89.99, but it has far too little storage at 16 GB, and comes with ‘special offers’ – possibly the worst feature ever introduced to a hardware product. Want more storage, 32 GB, and get rid of those ‘special offers’ and the price goes up to $134.99.
The equivalent Apple tablet would be the 7.9″ iPad mini base model which is priced at $399 for the same storage. But the new Fire HD 8 allows users to add up to 200 GB of additional storage via a microSD card, a feature Apple refuses to offer, despite the cries of its customers.
The new Fire HD 8 has a 1280-by-800 at 189 ppi pixels per inch display, which is considerably lower in resolution than the iPad mini 4’s 2048-by-1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch display. So, one can see that while the Amazon tablet continues to improve in hardware quality, it remains price where it really wants to compete.
Here is Amazon’s Fire HD 8 announcement:
SEATTLE, Wash. – September 8, 2016 — Amazon today announced the all-new Fire HD 8, the next-generation Fire HD tablet designed from the ground up for all-day entertainment. With an 8” widescreen HD display and quad-core processor, Fire HD 8 now offers an incredible 12 hours of battery life, 50% more RAM for faster performance, and 2x the on-device storage, plus support for up to 200 GB of additional storage via a microSD card—all for only $89.99. Fire HD 8 also introduces Alexa, the cloud-based voice service, for the first time on Fire tablets—just press and ask—Alexa can play music, launch games, read audiobooks, and more—coming soon.
“We believe in a different approach to tablets—providing premium products at non-premium prices—and customers love it. In fact, we’ve seen Fire tablet sales more than double year-over-year as a result,” said Kevin Keith, General Manager, Fire Tablets. “The all-new Fire HD 8 packs more battery life, more storage, faster performance, plus Alexa—all for less than $90.”
Fire HD 8 delivers access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, apps and games, as well as exclusive features like X-Ray, ASAP, Second Screen, Underground, and On Deck. With its 8” HD display and portable size, Fire HD 8 is the perfect tablet for entertainment.
For only $89.99, the all-new Fire HD 8 includes:
- High-definition display—8” widescreen (1280 x 800) HD display with over a million pixels (189 ppi) for bright, vivid image quality.
- Fast performance—With a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 1.5 GB of RAM—50% more RAM than the previous generation Fire HD 8 for faster performance when playing games or launching apps.
- 2x more storage—With options for 16 GB or 32 GB, and support for up to 200 GB of expandable storage via microSD.
- All-day battery—4,750 mAh battery for up to 12 hours of mixed use battery life for a full day of power.
- Incredible reliability—As measured in tumble tests, Fire HD 8 is 2x more durable than the iPad Mini 4—and costs $300 less.
- Front- and rear-facing cameras—Video chat with friends and family with the front-facing camera, take and share photos, and save them for later with free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices.
- Dolby Audio—Fire HD 8 stereo speakers are custom-tuned for immersive, high-quality sound.
- Fire OS 5—Includes a user interface that replicates the look and feel of a magazine, making browsing and searching for your content easier than ever—now with support for Comixology and Twitch.
- Alexa—Simply press and ask to enjoy music, listen to audiobooks, ask questions, shop, find news, hear the weather, and more on your Fire tablet.
- Amazon Underground—A one-of-a-kind app store experience where thousands of premium apps, games, and even in-app items are 100% free—including extra lives, unlocked levels, unlimited add-on packs, and more.
- On Deck—For Prime members, On Deck automatically keeps your Fire tablet current with popular Prime movies and TV shows, as well as Amazon Original Series. For customers that aren’t yet Prime members, On Deck downloads first episodes of Amazon Original Series—so you always have something great to watch.
- World’s best content ecosystem—Access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps, and games—with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.
- Amazon-exclusive features—ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Family Library, Amazon FreeTime, Prime Video downloads, Blue Shade, Word Runner, and more.
- Screen sharing—Let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, available 24×7, 365 days a year—for free.
- Four fun color options—Black, magenta, blue, and tangerine.
Introducing Alexa on Fire Tablets—Coming Soon
It just got even easier to enjoy endless entertainment on your Fire tablet with Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that is the brain behind Amazon Echo. When connected to Wi-Fi, simply long-press the home button and ask Alexa to play your favorite song, open a game, or read you the latest audiobook—Alexa provides quick access to the entertainment you want. Plus, you can ask Alexa for the news, weather, jokes, questions, and more—Alexa provides natural-language responses, combined with on-screen information on the tablet’s display. Third parties can publish Alexa skills, so you can ask Alexa to play music from services including Pandora and Spotify, and turn off the light or adjust the temperature on compatible smart home devices.
Alexa will be available on the all-new Fire HD 8, Fire HD 10, Fire and last year’s Fire HD 8 tablets via a free over-the-air software update in the coming months. Because Alexa is cloud-based, it gets smarter over time, meaning more Alexa capabilities for Fire tablets will be delivered in subsequent updates.
The Fire Family
The all-new Fire HD 8 is available for pre-order beginning today with 16 GB or 32 GB of memory starting at $89.99 at www.amazon.com/firehd8. Fire HD 8 comes in four fun color options: black, magenta, blue, and tangerine and starts shipping September 21.
Protective covers are also available for Fire HD 8 in black, magenta, blue, and tangerine and can stand in both portrait and landscape orientations, starting at $29.99.
The all-new Fire HD 8 is the latest to join the Fire tablet family, which includes:
- Fire—Starting at $49.99, Fire—Amazon’s best-selling tablet ever—offers a 7” IPS display, quad-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage, plus expandable storage options, and 7 hours of mixed use battery life. Fire is available in black, magenta, blue or tangerine colors at www.amazon.com/Fire.
- Fire HD 10—With a beautiful 10.1” HD display, Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s largest and thinnest tablet yet, featuring a powerful quad-core processor running at up to 1.5 GHz, 5MP rear-facing camera and HD front-facing camera, and with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, plus expandable storage. Perfect for watching widescreen entertainment, Fire HD 10 is available with a black or a silver aluminum enclosure starting at $229.99 at www.amazon.com/FireHD10.
- Fire Kids Edition—Built especially for kids (and their parents) Fire Kids Edition comes with a Fire tablet, a kid-proof case, one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited with access to 13,000 videos, books, educational apps and games, access to 20,000 hand-curated and age-appropriate websites and YouTube videos, plus a two year worry-free guarantee—all for only $99.99. Fire Kids Edition is available at www.amazon.com/FireKET.