Amazon’s Fire HD 8 tablet gets updated with hands-free Alexa

Amazon’s Fire tablets have been doing the Alexa thing for a while now, slowly improving the experience update by update. A new version of the Fire HD 8 tablet takes everything a step further with the addition of an always-on, fully hands-free assistant experience.

When the setting is enabled, you can summon Alexa, even with the tablet in standby mode. The new slate also, naturally, has the recently introduced Show Mode, which brings an Echo Show-like experience to the product when docked.

The company is further blurring the line between product categories — but that’s never really been an issue for Amazon. It clearly has little concern how people get Alexa, just so long as they’re using the product. The combination of hands-free Alexa and Show Mode is just another point of entry for the increasingly saturated smart home.

The new device also features a 10-hour battery, quad-core processor, 1280 x 800 display and 16GB/32GB of storage. Not exactly high-end specs here, but it’s an $80 device. Cheap is kind of the whole point of the Fire tablets, these days. There’s also a $130 Kids Edition of the tablet, featuring a drop-friendly bumper and the standard software subscription package.

The new tablets are up for pre-order today and start shipping October 4.