Amazon’s Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets get hands-free Alexa access – CNET

The entry-level Fire 7.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There’s a bit of good news for the owners of the latest generation Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets who use Alexa. Now you can control Alexa with your voice when your tablet is connected to power or the screen is on and in use.

You can ask Alexa to perform tasks such as playing a song, turn off the lights, start or pause a movie and more. Previously only the current Fire HD 10 (seventh-gen 2017 release) supported the hands-free Alexa feature.

With current and older Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets you had to push a virtual button on the screen to wake Alexa and issue commands.

Fire tablets don’t have the far-field microphone arrays found in Amazon’s Echo speakers, but so long as you’re reasonably close to your tablet, Alexa shouldn’t have a problem responding to voice commands.

The new feature rolls out this week via a free, over-the-air software update. For more information, go here.