The Amazon Fire tablet series might seem a bit forgotten when compared to the company’s Echo smart devices. But recent updates have seen the tablets get more new Echo-like features, including the latest one, which will introduce the same user interface found on the Echo Show screen-enabled smart speaker when it rolls out on July 2. Additionally, Amazon will be releasing a new peripheral called the Show Mode Charging Dock, which allows users to enjoy the aforementioned feature almost as if they were using an actual Echo Show.
According to a report from Ars Technica, the new Amazon Fire update adds Show Mode to the devices, which is a dedicated mode that users can turn on and off by accessing the quick settings on supported Fire tablets. This feature utilizes the same UI found on the Echo Show, but since the idea behind Show Mode is to allow for use from a distance, the text will be slightly larger, with almost the same information that one can access when using the Show.
As further explained, Show Mode lets Amazon Fire users do a variety of things, such as checking the weather, accessing lyrics when using the Music service, showing upcoming events from the calendar, viewing recipes and cooking instructions, and making video calls. Tablet owners will also be able to control their smart home devices, much like they could when using an actual Echo device.
While the goal of the Amazon Fire update is to make the Echo Show experience more portable than it already is, Ars Technica noted that the company also wanted to make things “a little more natural,” which is where the Show Mode Charging Dock comes in. This peripheral supports both the Fire and the Show Echo and comes with a case, adjustable stand, and Micro USB charging adapter. Certain features, such as a built-in battery, speaker, and microphone, are not included, which means users will still have to rely on their tablets for those functionalities.
According to TechCrunch, the Show Mode Charging Dock works by automatically charging the Fire tablet and switching it to Show Mode once it is inserted into the dock. It works on both the present-generation Amazon Fire HD 8 and 10, which are the only devices supported by the upcoming Show Mode software update; the feature won’t be available on older Fire tablets or the smaller Fire 7. Pricing for the charging docks is set at $40 for the eight-inch version and $55 for the 10-inch, while those who don’t have a Fire tablet can buy the Fire HD 8 and 10 bundled in with the dock for $110 and $190, respectively.