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Amazon has launched a new “Reader’s Edition” of its Fire HD 8 device, a 4th generation tablet it first introduced back in September.
As its name suggests, the Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition is pitched at those who like to, well, read. The $250 tablet serves up a year’s access to its Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service, which normally costs $10 a month. However, the new version actually costs $120 more than the normal Fire HD 8 incarnation, so there is no real savings to be made just now. The normal price of the Fire HD 8 is $150, though, so there is potential for some additional savings here once it returns to its normal price.
It’s also worth noting that the Reader’s Edition also comes with a free limited edition leather cover.
The new tablet also sports the new “Blue Shade” feature Amazon announced last week. The setting basically improves reading conditions in dark or dimly lit environments by automatically changing the color temperature of the screen away from blue, which is known to impair sleeping, as well as dimming the brightness.
It’s certainly a useful feature, but as part of the new Fire OS “Bellini” rollout, Blue Shade is already available for other Amazon Fire tablets anyway. Consumers are being asked to pay $120 more for this tablet, and getting an additional service that would normally cost them $120 a year anyway. So in effect, all a customer is really receiving “extra” here is a free leather case.
However, as a marketing ploy surely timed with Christmas in mind, it may actually work. Many people prefer dedicated e-readers because the screens are better suited to reading. By launching a tablet aimed squarely at readers, Kindle hopes to convince people that this tablet can be just as good as an e-reader — and does more because it’s a proper, Internet-connected device with a color screen.
Elsewhere in its product pitch, Amazon focuses on other features that readers may be interested in, such as Amazon’s Bookerly font, which is designed to improve reading on digital screens, and Word Runner, which focuses on one word at a time to make it easier to read. Again, these features are already available on other Amazon tablets, so it’s essentially a repackaging of an existing product for a specific use-case.
Amazon isn’t the first company to pitch tablets at bookworms. Samsung and Barnes & Noble have brought a broad range of hybrids to market, and Kobo has, too.
The Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition is open for pre-orders now, and will ship from December 8.
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