Amazon upgrades Fire HD 10 with hands-free Alexa integration

The hands-free Alexa support on the new Fire HD 10 makes it a strong competitor against Apple's iPad and tens of Android tablets.

Amazon upgrades Fire HD 10 with hands-free Alexa integration

Competing against budget tablets, Amazon has brought an all-new Fire HD 10 as the latest version of its largest tablet model. The new Fire HD 10 has many improvements over its predecessor but the most notable one is the support for hands-free Alexa.

Alexa is the key to shine in the mobile device market for Amazon. But, its enhanced integration into the new Fire HD 10 makes the company highly capable of influence users of Apple's Siri and Google Assistant. In place of the original tap-to-talk activation that has been available across all Fire tablet family, the new Fire HD 10 can activate Alexa by the wake word "Alexa". It uses a Wi-Fi connection to enable the digital assistant.

Once activated, you can ask Alexa to control video playback, answer questions, read the news, get traffic and weather updates or set alarms and timers -- using your voice. There are over 15,000 skills that are available to work through your commands. Plus, Amazon has provided access to services such as Pandora, Expedia and Domino's as well as compatibility with SmartThings, Net, Ring and Arlo to deliver a smarter experience.

The overall experience of hands-free Alexa on the new Fire HD 10 is similar to what Amazon had initially designed for its Echo range. However, there are visual cards to leverage the bright display of the tablet and ultimately take on Siri and Google Assistant.

Improved hardware

On the hardware front, Amazon's new Fire HD 10 has a 10.1-inch IPS panel with 1920x1200 pixel resolution, 5-megapixel rear camera sensor and an HD front-facing camera sensor. The tablet has a 1.8GHz quad-core MediaTek processor which is touted to be 30 percent faster than its previous version. Also, there is 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage along with a microSD card support.

Amazon hasn't defined the capacity of the battery pack on the new Fire HD 10, albeit it mentions that the tablet lasts for up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Custom Android

Similar to other Fire tablets, the new Fire HD 10 has a custom Android version that Amazon calls Fire OS. The platform comes preloaded with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Showtime apps and has features such as On Deck and For You that both enhance multimedia experience. Amazon has additionally provided stereo speakers on the tablet with Dolby Atoms audio support.

Robust build

Amazon claims that as per some internal tumble tests, the new Fire HD 10 is turned out to be more durable than the latest iPad Pro 10.5. The tablet has an all-plastic back that comes in three color options: black, marine blue and punch red.

The new Fire HD 10 will go on sale in the US starting October 11. Its base version with 32GB storage option is priced at US$149 (approximately SG$201).