7 New Products Unveiled by Amazon

Category: Gadgets

Layoffs and canceled projects in Amazon’s Lab126 hardware development division in late August sparked rumors that the e-commerce giant was backing out of the hardware market. But just two weeks later, Amazon unveiled seven new gadgets. Here are their highlights...

Amazon Fires Out New Products

Four new tablets debuted: the Fire HD8 ($149.99) with an 8-inch screen. The Fire HD10 ($229.99) is Amazon’s largest-ever tablet at 10.1 inches. The Fire Kids Edition ($99.99) comes with a breakage-replacement guarantee and a 7-inch screen. The humble Fire tablet costs a remarkably low $49.99 and Amazon even offers a six-pack of Fire tablets for $249.99 ($41.67 each).

All four tablets sport the new Fire OS 5 “Bellini” operating system, an Amazon-customized version of Android Lollipop. The home page is filled with standard apps. Swipe left to page through Amazon product categories such as books, games, video, music, etc. A search box lets you zero in on products of interest. Along the bottom of the screen, Bellini displays related suggestions from one of Amazon’s content services, such as Prime Video or the company’s e-book catalog.

“On Deck” is a new Bellini feature that makes me a bit uneasy. While a Bellini tablet is charging, it downloads videos (movies and TV shows) that Amazon thinks you may want to watch offline. This strikes me as a bit presumptuous, and possibly a security risk. Oh, and I wonder how folks with data caps will like this constant downloading.
Amazon's new hardware 2015

“Word Runner” is a new Bellini e-book feature that’s supposed to help you read faster. Instead of displaying a pageful of text, it displays one word at a time at whatever speed you like, sort of like flash-cards. I've seen demos of this elsewhere, and found it interesting. I'm not sure if it trains you to read faster, or if it just forces you to keep reading at a steady clip.

Amazon also offers cases and Bluetooth keyboards for all four tablets, and the usual assortment of memory upgrades.

The Fire TV set-top box and Fire TV Stick have been updated. The biggest change is the addition of Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled digital assistant. Alexa is coming to all Fire TV products over the next few months in the form of an automatic software update. Voice-control has always been part of Fire TV, and it’s very popular; Amazon says more than 60 percent of programming searches are voice-controlled.

Fire Up Your TV...

The Fire TV set-top box still costs $99.99. It can stream 4K content, a feature that even the latest Apple TV box lacks. Amazon says Fire TV is now “significantly faster” and has more robust WiFi for stronger performance. New features include Amazon Mayday, the ability to connect to customer support for quick help.

The Fire TV Stick ($39.99) requires a separate remote control for voice-command and Alexa use. The remote sells separately for $29.99 or bundled with a Fire TV Stick for $49.99.

The last new product is the Fire TV Gaming Edition bundle ($139.99). It combines a Fire TV box, a new gaming controller with Alexa search built in, a 32GB MicroSD card, and two free games.

All of these products can be ordered now. Most won’t start shipping until September 30, 2015. The Fire TV Gaming Edition bundle ships October 5.

Your thoughts on these products (or Amazon in general) are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "7 New Products Unveiled by Amazon"

Posted by:

Janet M. Simons
28 Sep 2015

Fairly certain I would not like "On Deck." Can this be disabled by the user?

Posted by:

Gloria Huffman
28 Sep 2015

Bellini e-book one word at a time?? Stupid, stupid, stupid!! I don't care how fast or slow you do it, everybody knows that nobody reads one word at a time unless they have a serious reading problem. We read in groups of words and in phrases. We read several lines at a time. We used to be able to read paragraphs at a time and even whole pages at a time as speed readers. We go faster on words that are easy, and we slow down to get the picture when harder words or concepts pop up, or when we simply need a breather to get back in focus. I would like to see some reliable science on the reading efficiency of going one word at a time at any speed. Words are often, nay, usually, understood in retrospect. We also look back to re-read something that needs to be tweaked in light of later information. Due to the ricocheting nature of how we perceive communication, including meaning and grammar, this one-word-at-a-time approach seems to me to be seriously flawed, and even, well, inhuman.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2015

WOW -- Some very good prices! I like the 8", it is a good size to read and take with you, any where. Paperback books are basically, 4"x6", so. going to an 8", is an improvement. Plus, you can adjust the size of the font, for those who have a harder time, reading. I use to buy, Trade Books, because, they were bigger and the print was larger. The print was not the Large Print, just larger, than regular books.

Nope -- "On Deck" is NOT what I want, either!!! It must be disabled, somehow. Amazon has no right, to invade our privacy, unless, you sign up for this service and agree to the terms. BAD move, on Amazon's part!!!

@Gloria -- I happen to read slower, than most readers. So, I frequently, read one word at a time. If, I skim an artile or page, I am basically "perusing", and not getting the full information or rational of the story, article, or technical books. Yes, "perusing" can be reading with throughness, but, I am using the definition of scanning or skimming through a story, article or technical book.

Now, I honestly think the Bellini e-book, is a really STUPID idea!!! However, I also, honestly wonder if, today generation can read like the older generation, who learned to love novels. When I was growing up and going to school, we HAD to read the book, to make a book report! It was reading books, where I learned to LOVE history! Reading, opened up a whole new world, for me. Now, I read e-books, on my computer, from Amazon.

Posted by:

Captain J
28 Sep 2015

Amazon unveils new products, eh? Well, as a formerly loyal Amazon purchaser, (and still a Prime member), I bought the first version of the Kindle Fire. Guess what? Shortly thereafter, Amazon unveils Prime Music, but does it work on my Fire? Noooo... only on later versions. So much for company loyalty! No longer will I buy a first issue of any of their products. Just sayin'....

Posted by:

Charlie Boardman
29 Sep 2015

Gloria Huffman, you said exactly what I was thinking except without the bleeping swear words I used.
Thank You.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2015

There is a free 'Fire TV/Fire Stick' ap for Andriod that adds voice to the otherwise mic-less Fire TV Box & stick. No need to buy the new fancy remote.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2015

Love Amazon prime. I get a lot of use out of it and it's priced pretty well. No complaints on service or content.. ever. I would love to cut the cable/satellite cord. Any word on a DVR set box not connected to a cable service? It would really make a huge difference is cord cutting. That's about all that's stopping me. Thanks for all the good info and articles you provide.

Posted by:

Leo Abbott
29 Sep 2015

"Coming soon—On Deck automatically downloads Prime Video (for Prime members) and the first episodes of Amazon Original Series while your device isn’t in use, ensuring that there is always something new to enjoy instantly, even when offline." from Amazon. On Deck is not here yet and it is for Amazon Prime members to have video ready to go rather than waiting for likely choices to download. I expect you will be able to turn it off but it doesn't say.

Posted by:

Dennis Reynolds
29 Sep 2015

I have the Fire TV Stick sms love it. However this reading one word at a time on "Word Runner" is not for me. I'll stick to my Kindle, thank you. And I'd never ever wasn't any content downloading without me authorizing it. Period.

Posted by:

30 Sep 2015

I saw that the tabs can be used as a phone? How good is the reception? do i have to have an account with a carrier? Which carriers will lit me use the tab as a phone? I'm looking at the cheapie. Can I use a bluetooth headset with the tab to use it as a phone?

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