Amazon just released a refreshed 10-inch Fire tablet that comes with enhanced Alexa features. These new features, which brings an always-listening Alexa to computing devices, is also rumored to deliver to the company’s more current tablets in an upcoming update. We’ll be posting a formal review of the new 10-inch Fire tablet here soon, but with the new Alexa features coming for other devices, here’s an overview of what to look for.
On the Quick Settings panel overlay on the Fire tablet, there’s a new Alexa Hands-Free option. Easy access to this option is thoroughly welcome as it allows you to quickly turn the feature on and off for those times when you don’t want Alexa blurting out responses to commands in quiet situations. For those familiar with Alexa, she can sometimes mistake hearing her name in the midst of a conversation and pipe up with unwelcome information.
On the full Settings panel on the Fire tablet, Alexa now has her own settings icon and area. Prior to this update, Alexa was buried in Device Options.
Alexa has a bunch of new settings to manage now. On the full Settings panel you can turn hands-free on and off, turn on and off the Tap-like function of holding the Home button, changing the Wake Word (the word Alexa listens for to start listening to commands), and an option that tells Alexa on the tablet to always hand-off commands to a nearby Alexa device. For those with a multitude of Alexa devices in their home (like we have), this keeps the tablet from taking over.
Interestingly, Amazon has shortened the list of Wake Words for its Fire tablet to just Amazon and Alexa. I don’t know if this is a portend of things to come but Alexa devices can all use Alexa, Amazon, Echo, and Computer. It was once rumored that Amazon would eventually allow custom Wake Words.
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