Amazon Turns Fires into Echo Shows

Amazon Turns Fires into Echo Shows
Show Mode allows Fire HD tablet owners to use their devices as if they were Echo Shows.

(CCM) — A new software update for Amazon's Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 tablets allows them to function as if they were Echo Show smart speaker devices.

The new "Show Mode" will be available on the tablets from July 2, 2018, and can be toggled on and off, Ars Technica reports. It provides the same visual interface as the Echo Show and can display the same range of information such as weather graphics and song lyrics. Users will be able to use the tablets' built-in Alexa functionality to start a video chat, show calendar events, display a live feed from some home security cameras, control smart home devices, and even play an Echo-style flash news briefing (but without any video content).

To make Show Mode more usable Amazon is also launching a docking station kit which includes a case, a stand, and a charger. Once the case holding the tablet is placed in the stand the tablet will switch automatically into Show Mode.

Amazon's Echo devices are equipped with an array of about seven microphones to pick up speech accurately from any direction. Since the Kindle Fire tablets have only one microphone it is unlikely that they will work as well, especially when the speaker is at a distance, but the new functionality does allow the tablets to be used when they are charging and therefore otherwise unlikely to be used.

Earlier this week Amazon introduced the ability for iPhones and other devices running iOS to behave like Echo devices. Following an update to the Alexa app for iOS, Alexa can now respond to voice commands issued from within the app on these devices and carry out similar tasks to full-blown Echo devices.

Image: © Amazon.