Amazon announces all-new Fire HD 8 tablet

new_fire_8For the last few weeks,the Fire 8 HD tablet has been sold out on Amazon. Today, Amazon announced an all-new version of the Fire 8 HD tablet. The new version is cheaper, too: $89.99 compared to $149.99 (with special offers). The new Fire promises to incorporate Alexa digital voice assistant from the Echo line of products into the Fire 8. According to Amazon’s website, other products in the fire line will be also receiving the Alexa update in the future .

The new device has a faster processing speed, more storage, an SD slot increased battery life and features a 1200 by 800 189 PPI resolution screen. You can find more specs listed here.

I ordered one of these for myself to give it a try. I have an aging Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet which I have been thinking of replacing. Like the Fire 8 HD, the Note 8 also has a 189 ppi resolution screen and I frequently use it for reading Scribd and Pocket articles. I bought one of the $50 fire 7 tablets last year and found the 171 ppi resolution bad enough that, with my vision problems, I won’t use it for reading. The 189 ppi screen is the minimum I find acceptable for reading.

Personally, my ideal would be an Alexa update for my favorite Fire tablet, the Fire HD 6. The HD 6 has a 252 ppi screen resolution that makes for really enjoyable reading experience on a tablet. There’s no word yet on whether that model will receive the update that incorporates the Alexa features. Amazon has had an ongoing price reduction on the HD 6, so they could be clearing stock for a new version. You can pick up an HD 6 for $69.99.

The new devices will be released on September 21, 2016. Like the other Fire tablets, it comes in four color options: Black, blue, magenta and tangerine.  Amazon is offering a payment plan for the new device where you can pay in 5 monthly payments of $18. 🙂

And, for you fellow case fashionistas, I am already checking into the case/cover situation and will have an update soon.

What about you? Is a new Fire tablet on your radar?

Daily Deals for Sunday, May 8, 2016

happy-mothers-day_640Deals of the Day for Sunday, May 8, 2016:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most by Elizabeth Benedict for  $1.99 ( just in time for Mother’s Day!)

In Today’s Deals, a Silicon Power 32GB MicroSDHC Class10, Elite Flash Memory Card with Adaptor.

There is still a promotion on the Fire HD 6 (8GB and 16 GB versions). There are also still deals on pre-owned Fire tablets.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Shipping News by Annie Proulx for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber for $1.99.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Soundtrack  is a B & N exclusive until May 20. You can also pre-order Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Soundtrack (vinyl) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens Soundtrack Laser-Etched Edition!  (also vinyl)  See the site for details and release dates.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Heist – Fox and O’Hare (Book 1) by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg for $1.99.

And, you can still get $20 off the Kobo Glo HD.  Free shipping is included.

The Kobo also has a monthly special 3 for 2 deal features books by  Grace Burrowes. The special runs until the end of month of May.:)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Brownies and Broomsticks: A Magical Bakery Mystery by Bailey Cates for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Finds and Deals: Fire HDX sale and special bundles

fire HDXAmazon is having a sale on some of its Fire Tablets and bundles:

First, you can save $50 on the Fire HDX 8.9 64GB (that’s 10% off. It is priced at $429.99. There seems to be an 4G LTE version of this still available. You can also find an Origami Case that fits this HDX model available for a reduced price.

There is also special pricing available on several Fire Bundles:

You can save $30 on the Fire HD 6 Kids Edition in a green, kid-proof case.

You can save $10 on the Fire Essentials Bundle which includes the latest Fire 7″ Tablet with Special Offers ($49.99), Nupro Slim Cover ($19.99), and Nupro Screen Protector ($12.99).

You can save $30 on the Fire HD 10 Productivity Bundle which includes the latest Fire 10″ Tablet with Special Offers ($229.99), Amazon Keyboard case ($99.99), Amazon Stylus ($14.99) and Nupro Screen Protector ($14.99).

You can save $10 on the Fire HD 8 Essentials Bundle which includes the latest Fire 8″ Tablet with Special Offers ($149.99), Incipio Clarion Folio Cover ($24.99) and Nupro Screen Protector ($12.99).

These are limited time offers, good only while supplies last.

Thoughts on the Fire HD 6

Fire HD 6 pictureI had mentioned a while back that I had skipped purchasing the new Kindle Voyage e-reader, but did purchase a Fire HD 6. Now that I have had a chance to play with it, I thought I would share a few thoughts on the device. While I upgrade my e-ink Kindles fairly frequently, I don’t upgrade my tablets as often. My perspective in this review, therefore, will focus on comparing it to my older devices.

Just for background, I already own a 1st Generation Kindle Fire and two Fire HDs (1st HD generation, 2012), one that is a 7″ and one that is 8.9. The !st generation fire is old enough that it is not supporting newer apps and games. There is also no way to connect to a television to the device to stream video to the big screen. The 2nd generation fires use a micro-HDMI cable to connect with the TV.

I wanted the HD 6 predominantly because of its size and form factor. I have had eye surgery, so for ease of use, I need something that is bigger than a tiny phone screen (I used to carry my iPod Touch with me). My phone is a Galaxy Note II and I wanted something even bigger that that. The HD 6 seemed like a manageable size and weight to throw in a purse or a bag for a visit to the doctor’s office. And, in fact, that presumption was indeed correct. It is the perfect size to carry around with me. With the cover on, it is just about the size and weight of a library binding paper back. It is lightweight enough to be comfortable, but hefty enough to feel substantial.

The headphone jack,  power button and micro-usb charging port are located at the top of the device, which I also like. On the original Fire, the charging port and headphone jack were at the bottom, which made it very difficult to hold the tablet vertically and read or listen to music. On the 2014 models, the charging and micro-HDMI ports were positioned on the side. This made certain cases awkward to use with the device,  especially when connected to a TV.

I also liked the fact that the Fire HD 6 does have substantially-sized physical volume buttons which are placed in a convenient position on the upper left side of the tablet. I tend to pick my tablets up from the bottom or the middle, so this is perfect for me. On the first generation Fire, there was no physical volume button. Everything was done via software and it was very inconvenient to use for games, videos and music. On 2nd generation Fire, the button were small and badly placed on the ends of the device. Those buttons were very hard to use because they were hard to find by feel alone.

While it doesn’t impact the function of the device, I liked the fact that the Fire HDs come in colors and  not just black. I bought myself a white one.

Unlike the earlier generations of Fire HDs, the Fire HD 6 ahs both front and rear facing cameras. The quality is about what you would expect for VGA and 2MP cameras ( not great), but it would be sufficient for Skype.

The Fire HD 6 has an up to 1.5 GHz quad core processor, faster than both the original original Fire tablet (1 GHz dual core) and the earlier Fire HD 1.2 GHZ dual core models. Out of the box, the initial response was pretty snappy. 🙂

There have been small tweaks made to the appearance of some of the programs. The carousel and memu bars look slightly different and a few names have changed. Notifications off is now easier to find and called Quiet Time. Orientation Lock is now called Rotation Lock and is also easier to find. I also found that I really needed that function because the gyro on my device is pretty sensitive.  I also found that the text-to-speech controls are much easier to find from within a book than they were on the previous Kindles and Fire tablets.

There are a couple of new features that I really like. Goodreads is integrated into the Fire in a way that seems to me to be much more organic than it does for the Paperwhite.

My favorite new feature is the addition of voice recognition to the Kindle Fire HD 6. None of my previous Fires had this capability.You can use a microphone or a headset with a microphone to dictate into any of the note or word processing programs. I use a set of JLab Headphones with microphone for mine.

The biggest new capability that makes this tablet really stand out is the profiles and shared library feature for OS 4.5.1. It was a bit tricky to set up as Amazon was still rolling out the feature and changing the instructions when I was working on it. I plan to write a entire post on setting up the sharing library and will come back and link to it here when I do.

Like many couples, my husband and I shared an account when we got my first Kindle. So all the early books we bought, all the videos, and all the music was put on that account. When I started blogging, I set up my own Amazon account so that I could have verified purchases under my own name for review purchases. That has made it difficult to share content – and is part of the reason we had two Fire HDs. Now, we can share all that content between accounts on both the Fire HD 6 and our Kindle Paperwhite 2 e-readers.

One of the few downsides to this tablet is that the built in speakers are only mono sound. However, the headphone jack is stereo and device features Dolby sound. The tablet also has only single band wi-fi, but so far, I have not had any problems with connections.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the Amazon covers for the tablets. I did try the Javoedge Kindle cover that I wrote about in this post, but the cover was too wide to safely hold the Fire. I am currently using a lightweight MarBlue Fire cover which is working quite well for me. This cover does NOT have a wake/sleep function built in to the cover, but since that is not a feature I personally care much for, that is really not important to me.

I am really enjoying the Fire HD 6. I have to say that this is one of my favorite devices at this point. With the features this tablet has,  I think that this is an amazing device, especially for only $119.

If you have any questions about the device, let me know in the comments. 🙂