Amazon refreshes lineup of low-cost tablets, new kids model

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Amazon has found a niche in the tablet market with lower-cost models. | Amazon via AP

NEW YORK — Amazon is offering a thinner and lighter version of its cheapest, 7-inch tablet, while shaving $10 off the price of an 8-inch model.

Amazon’s bare-bones Fire tablet is now called the Fire 7. It also promises about an extra hour of battery, or eight hours total, and a display with higher contrast and sharper text. The price remains at $50.

The Fire HD 8 model is now $80, rather than $90. Features are largely the same as before.

Amazon has found a niche in the tablet market with lower-cost models, while Apple, Samsung and Microsoft chase professionals with higher-end devices.

Both models come with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built-in, allowing users to control lights and household appliances, ask for the news or jokes and check the weather.

Amazon is also selling a kids version of the 8-inch tablet, for $130. It comes with a hardened case for kids and free replacements for two years. Before, a kids version was available only for the 7-inch model, for $100.

Amazon will start taking orders Wednesday. It will start shipping the new tablets on June 7.

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