To date, every Kindle Amazon has ever made featured a micro USB port. The same goes for all of Amazon’s Fire tablets. But all that is about to change with the new Fire HD 10 tablet, Amazon’s first homegrown gadget with USB-C.
The new Fire HD 10 is an update to Amazon’s previous 10-inch tablet, and comes with a slightly faster eight-core processor, a new picture-in-picture mode, improved battery life that should last 12 hours on a charge (up from 10 hours on the previous model), and of course, a new USB-C port instead of micro USB.
So what’s the big deal about a Fire HD 10 getting USB-C, you ask? Well, not only does the addition of USB-C give the Fire HD faster charging (up to around 15- watts) and data transfer speeds, more importantly, it finally brings the connectivity on Amazon’s “premium” tablet in line with other modern devices. (Technically, Amazon does make USB-C cables as part of its Amazon Basics line, but that’s not exactly a gadget now is it?)
Over the last 12 to 18 months, it’s been a bit frustrating to see Amazon release new Kindles and other first-party devices still using micro USB while almost every other device maker began embracing USB-C. Previously, when I asked Amazon’s product managers why the company continued to stick with micro USB, their general response was that because there were so many other micro USB devices already on the market, Amazon didn’t want to burden customers with having to carry around another new cord.
However, after a certain point, not wanting to adopt a new standard becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just because there are a lot of old devices out there with outdated specs, doesn’t mean that its OK to keep things the same forever. Thankfully, now that the new Fire HD has USB-C, I expect pretty much every new Amazon gadget going forward will eventually follow suit.
Elsewhere, not a ton has changed in the new Fire HD 10, as it features the same 10.1-inch full HD screen as before, similar Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, and the same 2GB of RAM, with storage options staying pat at 32GB or 64GB (plus microSD). That said, the Fire HD 10’s price also staying the same at $150. And on top of its new USB-C port, Amazon made an all-new white Fire HD 10, to go along with the black, plum, and twilight blue versions.
Finally, Amazon is also announcing the new $200 Fire HD 10 Kids Edition and $110 Kindle Kids Edition devices, which takes some of Amazon’s most popular gadgets and combines them with bundles that include big, durable cases, extended two-year warranties, and a one-year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service.
FreeTime Unlimited itself is also expanding, so that it will now work across a range of Amazon-made devices, including Kindles, Fire HD tablets, and even Fire TV sticks, so that you can access Amazon’s curated library of kid-friendly content on practically all of its first-party gadgets.
Amazon is even tweaking FreeTime to work better on specific devices, by adding features like Word Wise to the Kindle Kids Edition, which provides simple definitions to challenging words inside the source text, so kids don’t need to open up a new window just to look up the meaning of a word. Sadly, the Kindle Kids Edition still has a micro USB port, as its based on the existing Kindle and not a brand-new device.
The new $150 Fire HD 10, $200 Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, and $110 Kindle Kids Edition are all available for pre-order today, with shipments scheduled to go out on October 30th.