Amazon didn’t forget about the children during its recent September live event as the tech giant revealed a kid-friendly version of the Echo Pop and also the second generation of Fire HD 10 Kids tablet.
Beginning with the former, the Echo Pop Kids, as it’s called, is nearly identical to the standard Echo Pop model. It still has the same 49.5 mm front-firing speaker outputting Lossless High Definition audio. It has the same level of smart home compatibility. It can also connect to other devices via WiFi (2.4 and 5 GHz networks are supported), Bluetooth LE, or Matter.
One of the biggest differences is its design. The Echo Pop Kids will be available in two art styles: one will be adorned with Marvel’s Avengers while the other will have Disney Princesses. It’s also a bit heftier as it is now 102 x 86 x 91 mm and weighs 292g.
The more impactful changes are seen in its software. Amazon has plans to introduce Explore with Alexa to the speaker via Amazon Kids Plus platform as a way to answer the many, many questions children have.
This version of Alexa will come equipped with the company’s own large language model (LLM), meaning it’ll behave similarly to chatbots like ChatGPT. It pulls information “from trusted sources” to answer questions on animals, for example, or provide fun-fact trivia.
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Of course, “multiple trust and safety guardrails” have been put in place to guide children away from potentially “inappropriate or sensitive content” back to the previous conversation.
We’ve had a short demo with the Echo Pop Kids and came away impressed with their potential, as they’re packed are full of character easter eggs. For example, if you say “Wakanda Forever”, the Black Panther speaks to you. Random Disney characters can also chime in during interactions.
As for the second-gen tablet we mentioned earlier, there will be two models: the standard Fire HD 10 Kids for three-to-seven year olds and the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro for six-to-twelve year olds.
Both sport a 10.1-inch, Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution display. Under the hood, you’re looking at 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and up to 13 hours of battery life. Additionally, this generation has been given a performance boost as the two are apparently 25 percent faster than the previous gen.
The differences between the models, like with the Echo Pop Kids, mostly comes down to their design. The standard option has a much thicker protective case than its sibling. However, The Verge in its report claims the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro has a “software experience… more akin to a regular tablet for adults”. Presumably the other device has a simplified user interface meant for small children.
Everything listed here is available for pre-order. The Echo Pop Kids has a $50 price tag (around £40) with a shipping date of October 25 in the US (an Australian launch is still TBC).
Both the standard Fire HD 10 Kids and Pro models will cost $190 / £200 (we’re still yet to hear if they’ll launch in Australia). They will release a bit earlier than the Pop Kids speaker on October 18 with unique patterns options, too. For example, the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro has the space-themed Nebula while the standard model has an exclusive Mickey Mouse theme.
It’s worth noting that ‘Explore with Alexa’ is only available on the Echo Pop Kids. A company representative informed us that generative AI features will not be on the tablet. Still, the good news is that the boosted Alexa will be present on other Echo devices so long as it’s running a child’s profile alongside Amazon Kids Plus.
If you’re thinking of picking up a tablet for yourself, be sure to check out TechRadar’s guide to the best Amazon Fire Tablets you can buy.