Ama­zon’s Alexa voice as­sis­tant ar­rives on Fire tablets

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Anick Jes­da­nun AP Tech­nol­ogy Writer

NEW YORK» Ama­zon’s Fire tablets are get­ting the Alexa voice as­sis­tant.

The pre­vi­ously an­nounced fea­ture will start rolling out to cus­tomers Wed­nes­day. It’s meant to com­ple­ment what users get on other Alexa de­vices, such as the Echo speaker. Through voice com­mands, users can get the news read out to them or lis­ten to mu­sic from ser­vices such as Ama­zon Mu­sic or Pan­dora.

The Fire tablets will go be­yond Echo by of­fer­ing full-screen cards with ad­di­tional de­tails. For in­stance, when you ask for the weather, Alexa will speak out the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture and of­fer the day’s fore­cast, just as she does on Echo. But the vis­ual card will also dis­play the week’s fore­cast. For news and mu­sic, the card of­fers play­back con­trol such as paus­ing and skip­ping.

For those with both Fire and Echo, making a re­quest on Echo will trig­ger the Fire’s screen to turn on and present the de­tailed cards, as long as a Voice­cast fea­ture is en­abled through the Alexa app.

Ama­zon says Alexa will dif­fer from Ap­ple’s Siri and Google’s As­sis­tant in be­ing de­signed for tablets first, rather than phones. That means fo­cus­ing on tasks typ­i­cally done at home, such as en­ter­tain­ment, recipes and timers. For tasks on the go, such as find­ing nearby restau­rants, Alexa per­forms a stan­dard web search or di­rects you to the Alexa app. Ap­ple and Google have spe­cial in­ter­faces with restau­rant rat­ings, price ranges and more, and both in­te­grate that in­for­ma­tion into their chat apps, too.

Al­though the over­all tablet mar­ket has been slump­ing, Ama­zon.com Inc. has man­aged to stay strong by slash­ing prices and en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to buy more than one. Its bare-bones base model costs just $49. Last month, Ama­zon in­tro­duced a

AMA­ZON VIA AP

This un­dated file im­age pro­vided by Ama­zon shows color op­tions of the new Ama­zon Fire HD 8 tablet.

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