Amazon is rolling out a software update for its latest Fire tablets, bringing support for the company’s Alexa voice assistant software.
Alexa is baked into Fire OS 5.4, the latest version of the operating system that runs on the company’s tablets, and the update is rolling out this week to the $50 Amazon Fire tablet, the $90 Fire HD 8, and the $220 Fire HD 10.
Tablet users won’t get the same always-listening Alexa features that are available for the Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot. Instead, you’ll be able to bring up Alexa by pressing and holding the home button for 2 seconds, making the Alexa-on-demand feature a bit more like what you’d get with an Amazon Fire TV device or the Amazon Tap Bluetooth speaker.
Anyway, once Alexa is ready, you can ask questions, set reminders, add items to your shopping list, buy items from Amazon using your voice, play voice-activated games, or access any of the features baked into Alexa or offered by third-party “Alexa Skills.”
Unlike an Amazon Echo or Fire TV though, the Fire tablets have screens… so you can view visual cards for some results. For instance, instead of just delivering a weather forecast by voice, Alexa on a Fire tablet can show a card with the current temperature and upcoming forecast details.
While Alexa support is one of the most noteworthy new features in Fire OS 5.4, the update is also expected to add new features from Amazon-owned services including ComiXology and Twitch.