Back in 2015, Amazon released its cheapest tablet yet - the 'Fire tablet' for just $50 (with lock-screen ads). There's still a sizable developer community around the device too, with plenty of hacks and ROMs available for owners.

Now the company is following up with a new model, named the Fire 7. The Fire HD 8 is also getting a minor refresh, in case you need something a little bigger. The 7-inch tablet still starts at $50 with lock-screen ads, and $64.99 without. The Fire HD 8 starts at $79.99 with lock-screen ads, and $94.99 without.

So you might be wondering what is different with the new models. Honestly, there doesn't appear to be any major hardware or software differences. The colors are different - both tablets are available in Black, Canary Yellow, Marine Blue, and Punch Red. The smaller Fire 7 also has dual-band Wi-Fi for the first time, so you can connect to 5GHz networks.

Here are the full specifications for the Fire 7/Fire 7 Kids Edition:

Specs

Display 7" 1024x600
Processor Quad-core 1.3GHz
RAM 1GB
Cameras VGA front-facing camera, 2MP back camera with 720p HD video recording
Connectivity Dual-band Wi-Fi
Storage 8 or 16GB for Fire 7, 16GB only for Fire 7 Kids Edition (both models have microSD expansion)

And for the Fire HD 8/Fire HD 8 Kids Edition:

Specs

Display 8" 1280x800 IPS
Processor Quad-core 1.3GHz
RAM 1.5GB
Cameras VGA front-facing camera, 2MP back camera with 720p HD video recording
Connectivity Dual-band Wi-Fi
Storage 16 or 32GB for Fire HD 8, 32GB only for Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (both models have microSD expansion)

The product pages and press releases didn't reveal what version of Fire OS (Amazon's fork of Android) the tablets are running, so it's probably safe to assume they're running Fire OS 5. That version is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and obviously doesn't include any Google services or the Play Store. I imagine the Play Store will be pretty easy to sideload, just like with the original Fire tablet, once the developer community starts digging into it.

Both tablets are available in 'Kids' editions, which are more expensive than the respective base models, but have a few useful perks. First, Amazon includes a two-year worry-free replacement guarantee with both models. Both tablets also come with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which includes access to tons of age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, and games.

The Fire 7 Kids Edition is $99.99, and the Fire 8 HD Kids Edition is $129.99. Not bad at all, considering everything you get with it. You can find all models on Amazon at the source links below.

Press Release

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 17, 2017-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced two new additions to its Fire Tablet lineup—the all-new Fire 7 and all-new Fire HD 8. Amazon’s best-selling tablet is now even better—Fire 7 features a thinner and lighter design, an improved 7” IPS display with higher contrast and sharper text, longer battery life with up to 8 hours of mixed use, 8 GB of storage with support for up to 256 GB of expandable storage, and better Wi-Fi connectivity, plus Alexa—all for only $49.99. The all-new Fire HD 8—the next-generation of Amazon’s highest customer-rated tablet—offers a stunning 8” HD display with over 1 million pixels, a quad-core processor, up to 12 hours of battery life, 16 GB of storage with support for up to 256 GB more, plus Alexa—now only $79.99. Both Fire Tablets are available for pre-order starting today.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005706/en/

Amazon Fire 7 Tablet (Photo: Business Wire)

“We think customers should expect more from their tablet—better hardware, more features, access to tons of great content—but shouldn’t have to pay a premium for it,” said Kevin Keith, General Manager, Fire Tablets. “Our approach is to offer premium products at non-premium prices. The all-new Fire 7 is thinner and lighter, offers an improved display, longer battery life, and better Wi-Fi connectivity—while keeping the same low price of $49.99. For only $30 more, the all-new Fire HD 8 offers a vibrant 8” HD widescreen display, up to 12 hours of battery life, faster performance, and 16 GB of storage. Plus, both tablets include Alexa—it’s an incredible value we think customers will love.”

For less than $50, Fire 7 is thinner and lighter than the previous generation Fire. With an improved 7-inch IPS display, Fire 7 offers higher contrast and sharper text, making books, web content, videos and more look crisp and colorful. Fire 7 also offers improved battery life with support for up to 8 hours, and a choice of 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage with up to 256 GB of expandable storage via microSD card, giving customers the ability to enjoy more videos, music, games, and photos—even while offline.

For only $30 more, Fire HD 8 offers a widescreen 8” 1280 x 800 HD display with over a million pixels for a bright, vivid picture. It also includes up to 12 hours of battery life for all-day power, and 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage, plus up to 256 GB of expandable storage via microSD card.

Both of Amazon’s latest Fire Tablets include:

  • Alexa—Simply press and ask to play videos, enjoy music, listen to audiobooks, ask questions, shop, find news, display the weather, and more on your Fire tablet.
  • Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor—Quickly and easily switch between apps, stream movies, and browse the web without waiting for your tablet to catch up.
  • Durability—As measured in tumble tests, Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 are both more durable than the latest generation iPad.
  • Front- and rear-facing cameras—Video chat with friends and family with the front-facing camera; take and share photos, and save them for later with free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices.
  • Fast Wi-Fi connectivity—dual-band Wi-Fi with support.
  • Screen Sharing—let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, available 24x7, 365 days a year—for free.
  • Amazon-exclusive features—Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck, Prime Video downloads, and more.
  • World-class content ecosystem—Access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps, and games—with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.
  • New color options—Black, Punch Red, Marine Blue, and Canary Yellow.

Endless Entertainment

Alexa on Tablets

Alexa makes it easy to have your favorite entertainment right at your fingertips. With a simple long-press of the home button, you can ask Alexa to play your favorite movie or TV show, read aloud the latest audiobook you’ve been reading, open a game or app, turn off the lights, or adjust the temperature controls. You can even ask Alexa for the news, weather, jokes, questions, and more. Alexa provides natural-language responses, combined with on-screen information on the tablet’s display—ask for the weather and see the week’s forecast, ask to play a song and see the album cover. Since bringing Alexa to Fire Tablets last year, customers have asked Alexa for millions of songs, jokes, the weather, trivia, movies, audiobooks, and more every week.

World-Class Content for the Whole Family

Amazon offers access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, apps, games, audiobooks, and magazines. This includes hundreds of thousands of exclusives, such as the entire 16-album collection from Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history, available only on Amazon Music as well as Amazon Music Original playlists, which feature original songs and covers from a wide range of artists like Ryan Bingham, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Ingrid Michaelson, Joshua Radin, and more. Fire devices offer free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazoncontent, plus all of the exclusive features that customers love. Among others, these include ASAP, which helps you get to the movies and TV shows you want to watch even faster, and Blue Shade, which removes harmful blue light for a more comfortable nighttime reading experience on a tablet. Parents can also take advantage of world-class parental controls with Amazon FreeTime, the service that encourages learning before play and gives parents the ability to set educational goals and screen time limits by content type, including innovative features like Learn First and Bedtime.

Ultimate Portability

Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 offer beautiful displays, up to 256 GB of expandable storage via microSD card, and all-day battery life, making them the perfect tablets for watching movies, playing games, reading books, listening to music, and much more whether jumping on a plane or heading out on a family trip. Both tablets also support offline downloads for Prime members, Netflix plans, and Showtime subscribers, plus On Deck, a feature that automatically downloads popular Prime movies, TV shows, and Amazon Original Series so customers never have to worry about being caught without entertainment.

Even Better with Prime

Fire Tablet customers that are Prime members have access to millions of movies, TV episodes, songs, books, and much more included as part of their member benefits. Tens of millions of Prime members around the world enjoy the many benefits of Prime. In the U.S. that includes unlimited access to award-winning movies and TV episodes with Prime Video; unlimited access to Prime Music, Audible Channels for Prime, Prime Reading, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime; early access to select Lightning Deals, one free pre-released book a month with Kindle First, and more. Prime was built on the foundation of unlimited fast, free shipping and today, members receive unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 50 million items, Prime FREE One-Day Shipping and Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery in more than 5,000 cities and towns, and two-hour delivery with Prime Now in more than 30 major cities. If customers are not yet members, they can start a free trial of Amazon Prime at amazon.com/prime.

The Fire Family

Fire 7 is $49.99 and Fire HD 8 is $79.99—both will start shipping on June 7. Order the new Fire 7 at www.amazon.com/fire7; order the new Fire HD 8 at www.amazon.com/firehd8.

Protective covers are also available for Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 in multiple colors and can stand in both landscape and portrait orientations. Fire 7 protective covers are $24.99 and Fire HD 8 covers are $29.99.

In addition to Fire 7 and Fire HD 8, Amazon also today introduced the Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet. Both will also start shipping on June 7—order Fire 7 Kids Edition at www.amazon.com/fire7-kids-edition; order Fire HD 8 Kids Edition at www.amazon.com/firehd8-kids-edition.

As a special introductory offer, Fire Tablets are available in a multi-pack option—so that every member of the family can enjoy one. Buy any three Fire Tablets—including the all-new Fire 7, Fire HD 8, Fire 7 Kids Edition, and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition—and save 20 percent.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Press Release

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 17, 2017-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced two new additions to its best-selling Fire tablet lineup—the all-new Fire 7 Kids Edition and all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablets are built around three ideas:

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005704/en/

Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablets (Photo: Business Wire)

1. Despite best intentions, kids break things—Fire Kids Edition tablets come with a kid-proof case available in blue, pink or a new yellow color option, and a two-year worry-free guarantee—if they break it, send it back and we’ll replace it. No questions asked.

2. Parents don’t want to worry about the bill—Including access to over 55,000 age-appropriate websites and YouTube videos, plus a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which offers more than 15,000 books, videos, educational apps, and games that have been curated for age-appropriateness—at no additional cost.

3. Kids want a real tablet, not a toy—Fire 7 Kids Edition features a 7” IPS display, quad-core processor, 16 GB of storage with up to 256 GB of expandable storage via a microSD card slot, and up to 8 hours of battery life. For only $30 more, Fire HD 8 Kids Edition offers a 1280x800 widescreen 8” HD display, quad-core processor, 32 GB of storage with up to 256 GB of expandable storage via a microSD card slot, and up to 12 hours of battery life.

Fire 7 Kids Edition is $99.99 (a total value of over $225) and is available for pre-order today at www.amazon.com/fire7-kids-edition. Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is $129.99 (a total value of over $270) and is available for pre-order today at www.amazon.com/firehd8-kids-edition.

“Our Kids Edition tablets are built from the ground up just for kids and we’re thrilled to be the #1 best-selling kids tablet in the U.S. today,” said Kurt Beidler, Director of Kids & Family, Amazon. “These new tablets offer even greater value for our customers with a new 8” HD screen option, increased battery life and storage, plus more popular FreeTime Unlimited books, videos, educational apps, and games, and new FreeTime features like Parent Dashboard and Discussion Cards—all while keeping our prices incredibly low.”

Endless Fun for Kids

Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, the all-in-one subscription service that gives kids ages 3-12 unlimited access to over 15,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, and games. Kids can enjoy new titles like Pete the Cat, Cupcake Diaries, Fruit Ninja, LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Just Add Magic, and more—available from popular brands like Disney, Nickelodeon, Amazon Studios, PBS Kids, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. New titles are regularly added to the FreeTime Unlimited catalog and parents can add titles they own into their child’s FreeTime profile, such as Netflix or Minecraft. FreeTime Unlimited can also be used on Fire Tablets, Kindle e-Readers, Amazon Fire TV, and compatible Android phones and tablets.

Amazon FreeTime also includes a kid-friendly web browser that provides kids with controlled access to over 55,000 YouTube videos and websites. All of the content is kid-friendly and age-appropriate, hand-selected by the Amazon FreeTime team. Parents can also add additional websites if they choose to.

All the Tools Parents Want

Over 10 million kids (and their parents) enjoy the award-winning Amazon FreeTime service, which provides the perfect balance between giving kids the freedom of choice and unlimited access to the content they love, while providing parents peace of mind that what their kids are viewing on their devices is age-appropriate. Amazon FreeTime offers world-class parental controls that encourage learning before play, and gives parents the ability to set educational goals and screen time limits by content type, including innovative features like Learn First and Bedtime.

“Amazon’s Fire Kids Edition tablets strike a remarkable balance between what kids and parents want in a dedicated kids tablet,” said Stephen Balkam, Founder & CEO, Family Online Safety Institute. “These tablets offer age-appropriate digital content that’s both fun and educational for kids, plus a suite of parental controls and features to help parents teach kids how to use technology responsibly.”

Additionally, Amazon recently introduced Parent Dashboard and Discussion Cards, new FreeTime features which offer a whole new way for parents and kids to connect over digital content. With Discussion Cards, parents can easily familiarize themselves with the FreeTime content their kids are viewing, such as books, videos, educational apps, and games to encourage discussion and engagement with their kids. Discussion Cards are found within the new Parent Dashboard, a mobile optimized website that also provides daily activity reports to help parents review the digital content their kids are using in FreeTime and determine how to manage time limits and educational goals. Parent Dashboard and Discussion Cards are available at http://parents.amazon.com.

The Fire Family

Fire 7 Kids Edition is $99.99—order at www.amazon.com/fire7-kids-edition; Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is $129.99—order at www.amazon.com/firehd8-kids-edition. Both tablets will begin shipping on June 7.

In addition to the Fire Kids Edition tablets, Amazon also today introduced the all-new Fire 7 and all-new Fire HD 8 tablets. To learn more about the Fire 7 visit www.amazon.com/fire7; to learn more about the Fire HD 8 visit www.amazon.com/firehd8.

As a special introductory offer, Fire tablets are available in a multi-pack option—so that every member of the family can enjoy one. Buy any three Fire tablets—including the all-new Fire 7, Fire HD 8, Fire 7 Kids Edition, and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition—and save 20 percent.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.