Amazon has been blurring the lines between some of its most popular hardware recently. The new Amazon Fire TV Cube is basically what you’d get if you crossed a Fire TV with an Echo Dot. And the addition of the hands-free Alexa voice service to the company’s latest Fire tablets basically lets you use them like an Echo.
Now you can really make an Amazon Fire tablet more like an Echo device. Starting July 2nd, you’ll be able to enable Show Mode on any 2017 odel Amazon Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10.
The new feature lets you switch to a hands-free, voice-controlled, full-screen view for interacting with Alexa. Basically it turns a Fire HD tablet into an Amazon Echo Show (with a crappier microphone).
Amazon is also launching a set of Show Mode Charging Docks. They have adjustable kickstands, allowing you to prop up your tablet at a comfortable angle for viewing the screen. And as soon as you put the tablet in the Show Mode dock, it’ll automatically switch to Show Mode.
You don’t need a special dock to use Show Mode, but it’ll probably make things easier.
Amazon other things, Amazon says you can use Alexa with Show Mode to see and hear news or weather information, view camera feeds, set timers, view recipes, play music, or make video calls.
One thing you still can’t do? Watch YouTube videos.
Show Mode will start rolling out in an over-the-air software updates on July 2nd, and the Show Mode Charging Docks are up for pre-order today, and they’ll begin shipping July 12th.
They’re priced at $40 for the 8 inch model and $55 for the 10 inch version, but there’s currently on sale for $5 off:
Amazon is also offering Show Mode bundles, letting you pick up a Fire HD 8 tablet plus dock for $110 or a Fire HD 10 plus dock for $190. That’s a pretty good price when you consider that an Echo Show has a list price of $230 (although it’s currently on sale for $160).
That said, the Echo Show has multiple microphones for far field voice detection, which could make it easier to use from across a noisy room. But the Fire tablets have the advantage of also functioning as tablets. You can remove them from the dock and use them as handheld devices for reading, writing, playing, watching, etc.