Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) offering Alexa-enabled mobile devices is a no-brainer. However, when the Fire HD 8 tablet was released last month, Alexa was excluded, leaving some consumers disappointed. So, Amazon promised that Alexa would be integrated in the Fire tablets for free in a software update. Now, that update is available for entry-level model Fire, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 owners.
In Amazon Echo speakers, Alexa is voice-activated. However, in the Fire tablets, physically pressing the home button activates the friendly AI assistant. With more than 3,000 built-in capabilities that work on both devices, users can ask the Fire tablet Alexa anything that they would ask on the Echo speaker. Alexa also uses the same voice commands to play music, read the news, check weather reports, adjust smart home devices, launch games, read books, and the like. Since some of the versions of the applications in the Amazon’s Fire tablets are fairly new, Alexa might not include all its integrated skill sets during the release. However, Amazon promises that it will add more skills that are compatible with its current apps. While Alexa integration does not support Spotify music playback, the voice service now works with Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Amazon Music.
Alexa has the new information cards functionality on the mobile devices. But, not all Alexa skills are integrated with information cards just yet. For now, detailed cards will appear on the display for requests about weather, game scores, or when she is asked to set a timer, and play music. Alexa can also function as a shopping assistant, with her ability to re-order products that the owner normally buys on Amazon. If the user doesn’t like the pre-set order selection, there are detailed information cards about other Amazon products as well.
The primary purpose of adding Alexa on Amazon tablets is to complement with other Amazon devices such as the Echo speaker. A Voice Cast feature has been added which allows Alexa-enabled tablets and Amazon speakers to be paired. By connecting both devices, the voice-activated Alexa in the Echo speaker can summon the Fire tablet without pressing the home button. Users can also make a request in the Echo and can simultaneously see detailed visual cards on the Fire tablet.
Having Alexa on Amazon tablets is significant as it is the first company to integrate a widely used virtual assistant on mobile devices. Since its first release, Alexa has only been offered on Amazon Tap, Echo and Echo Dot speakers, and Amazon’s Fire TV sticks. Alexa on the Echo speaker is different from that of the Amazon Fire’s. The tablets do not have far-field sensor speakers, and for some, shouting “Alexa” from afar is a better alternative than pressing a button.
Indeed, Amazon is envisioning an Alexa-assisted world, being integrated with home electronics across different devices. The e-commerce pioneer has even introduced the skilled AI assistant to third-party hardware developers and has started to integrate it with other brands as well.