Amazon Fire tablets get new accessibility features like ‘Tap to Alexa’ and more – Good e-Reader

September 24, 2022 by No Comments

Amazon announced it is bringing the ‘Tap to Alexa’ feature to Fire tablets, including the new Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus tablets launched just a day back. Among the more accessibility features that have been introduced to the Fire tablet family include text-to-speech and compatibility with Bluetooth switch access controllers, The Verge reported.

Of these, tap to Alexa can be considered the touch equivalent of the usual voice-based interaction with Alexa. So, instead of calling up Alexa via voice commands, there is the small pre-designated ring on the display, touching which will invoke the Alexa smart assistant. You will be greeted with a range of the most commonly used commands. These include Stop, Timer, Alarm, Weather, Traffic, and Joke.

Some of the options, like Joke, can be a single tap operation as just tapping on it will make Alexa share a joke with you. The same might be applicable for Weather as well unless you need the latest weather information of a specific location other than where you mostly seek weather information for.  However, others like Alarm might require more interactions like selecting the date and time options shown on the display.

There is the Quick Question tile as well where you can type a question as if you are speaking it aloud to Alexa. You can also add a new tile for a specific request such as playing your favorite TV show or running a preset Alexa Routine. Examples of the latter can be running the Goodnight Routine which might include a series of tasks such as locking the smart lock, and switching off non-essential smart gadgets followed by switching off the lights.

The Tap to Alexa is available on the Amazon Fire tablet, generation eight and higher, apart from the Echo Show devices it was limited to so far. The service is however limited to only the US, UK, Germany, and Japan.

Text to Speech on the Fire tablet is another accessibility feature where Alexa would read aloud what the user has typed on it. This is going to be especially helpful for those with speech and/or mobility disabilities. This can be of help for those with mobility issues or who are bound to a wheelchair. They can type out their requirement and have Alexa speak aloud the written phrase, effectively serving as a communication means with those who matter.

Then there also are the Bluetooth switch access controllers such as the button, eye blink sensor, or sip puff straw which can work in tandem with Tap to Alexa so that those with severe mobility disorders are able to communicate with the outside world via Alexa. Amazon said they collaborated with the United Spinal Institute’s Tech Access Initiative in devising the new accessibility features.

With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.



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