Amazon Announces New Fire HD 8 Tablets

Amazon May 13 announced the next generation of its Fire HD 8 tablet lineup with the all-new Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.

The Fire HD 8 is available for preorder, starting at $89.99 at www.amazon.com/firehd8. For a limited time, it is available in a two-pack bundle for $159.99. Fire HD 8 is offered in White, Black, Twilight Blue, and Plum, and will begin shipping on June 3.

The tablet has 32GB of internal storage and up to 12 hours of battery life. For $20 more, the Fire HD 8 Plus has 50% more RAM, wireless charging, and six months of Kindle Unlimited included.

The Fire HD 8 features an eight-inch, 1280 x 800 HD display with more than one million pixels; a faster 2.0 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM. Tablet includes options for 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, support for up to 1TB of expandable storage via microSD, and free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire tablets.

Tablets include “Game Mode,” affording user no interference from notifications; access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle eBooks, magazines, apps, and games.

As a special introductory offer, Fire HD 8 Plus buyers will get six months of Kindle Unlimited included with their tablet purchase. After six months, the Kindle Unlimited membership renews at the regular price of just $9.99 per month.

The Fire HD 8 Plus comes in a new Slate color, and can be pre-ordered today starting at $109.99 at www.amazon.com/firehd8plus. It begins shipping June 3. The Fire HD 8 Plus can also be purchased as a bundle with the all-new Made for Amazon Wireless Charging Dock by ANGREAT for $139.99.

Accessory Cases are available for both Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus tablets in Twilight Blue, Charcoal Black, Sandstone White and Plum for $29.99.

The new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition includes the aforementioned features and comes bundled with a kid-proof case, an adjustable stand in blue, pink, or purple, a two-year guarantee, and a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for $139.99.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited features 20,000 age-appropriate books, Audible books, educational apps, games, and videos, including new and popular titles such as Pinkfong Baby Shark, Sonic Dash, Descendants Junior Novel, and Barbie Dreamtopia from brands like Smartstudy, PBS Kids, SEGA, and Mattel. Kids can also stream more than 2,000 Spanish language titles, like Pinkfong! Car Songs, Plaza Sesamo, National Geographic Readers: Los Tiburones (Sharks), and Los Sentidos de Los Insectos.

FreeTime includes more than 1,500 educational titles organized by core curriculum and extracurricular topics, such as math, science, exercise, art, and virtual fieldtrips. In addition, families will also have access to additional premium content from Homer and PBS Kids within FreeTime Unlimited. All of the FreeTime Unlimited content is kid-friendly and hand-selected by the Amazon FreeTime team with new titles added regularly.

“Over 20 million kids (and their parents) have enjoyed the award-winning Amazon FreeTime service,” Kurt Beidler, director of kids and family at Amazon, said in a statement.

Parents can use parental controls to choose what content kids can access and to add more content. These settings can be managed on the device or parents can visit the Parent Dashboard at parents.amazon.com to view daily activity reports and easily adjust their child’s FreeTime settings from any web browser, whether they’re on a mobile device or computer.

After one year, customers can continue their FreeTime Unlimited subscription starting at $2.99 per month for Prime members and $4.99 per month for customers who are not yet Prime members. The subscription can be used on any compatible device, including Fire tablets, Fire TV, Kindle, Echo, iOS, Chrome OS and Android devices.

Winter Holiday Tablet Sales Return to Growth

Sales of detachable tablets (convertible laptops with keyboard), including iPad and Galaxy, increased 10.3% to 6.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the previous-year period, according to new data from IDC.

Tablet sales for the year increased 1.6%, which trailed significantly from 24% growth in 2016.

IDC attributed slowness to the launch cycle of high profile devices like Microsoft’s new Surface, which was off schedule, leaving older Surface models on shelves as consumers waited to see the upgrades.

Meanwhile, slate tablets (without keyboards) shipped 43.1 million units in Q4, and 141.7 million for the year – down about 7.6% from 2016. The report suggested sales have remained relatively steady as consumers increasingly use slate tablets to consume media, including over-the-top video and SVOD.

Top tablet vendors include (in order), Apple with 24.3% market share and 0.6% annual growth and Amazon Fire Tablet with whopping 50.3% growth and 9.6% market share. Samsung ranked third with 14.9% market share (13% sales decline), Huawei (5.9% market share, 11.9% growth) and Lenovo (6.6% market share, 13.1% sales decline.

“Continued success of [the tablet category] hinges on the willingness of other PC vendors to participate and more importantly, consumers from other countries to adopt the [detachable tablets] over convertible PCs,” Jitesh Urbani, senior research analyst with IDC, said in a statement.