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Amazon reveals first-ever kids-friendly Kindle

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 07/10/2019 Amelia Heathman
a person holding a baby © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

In the 12 years since Amazon first launched its e-reader, Kindle, the company has sold tens of millions of versions of the device.

The Kindle choice is bigger than ever. There’s the standard Kindle (not waterproof), the Paperwhite (waterproof, with a better light, as well as Bluetooth-capability) and the high-end feature-packed Oasis version.

Now, Amazon is adding a new Kindle device to the list with the Kindle Kids Edition. The company has always included books in its Fire for Kids subscription available on the kid-friendly Fire tablets, but this is the first time it is making a kids-specific version of the popular e-reader.

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It looks just like the standard 6-inch Kindle, with an e-ink display and adjustable front light. There’s also the added bonus of a kid-friendly case, in blue or pink and a two-year guarantee. The rule goes that if anything happens to the device in the first 24 months, send it back to Amazon which will replace it, free of charge.

There is no access to the general Kindle store which means kids cannot download books (and use their parents’ credit card) on a whim. Instead, the device comes with a year’s free access to the Fire for Kids subscription, so they can choose from thousands of books from classics such as the Harry Potter series and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, to contemporary titles including Curious George. The subscription can be renewed for £1.99 per month for Prime customers, and £3.99 per month for non-Prime fans. Parents can also approve books outside of this subscription in the accompanying parental app.

Another new feature for the Kindle Kids includes achievement badges. Depending on how many books, words, or time spent reading, kids can earn badges towards pre-defined goals. As well, the Easy Discovery feature makes it easier to find a book even without the exact spelling. The Vocabulary Builder feature means that anytime they look up a word in the built-in Kindle dictionary, it’s automatically added to the Builder so they can build up their reading and comprehension skills.

a screen shot of a smart phone: The Kindle for Kids and the Fire HD 10 Kids tablet can both be controlled using the parental dashboard (Amazon) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The Kindle for Kids and the Fire HD 10 Kids tablet can both be controlled using the parental dashboard (Amazon)

Amazon is also updating its Kids Fire 10 HD tablet today, alongside the standard Fire 10 edition aimed at adults. It’s because of the success of the Kids tablets that the company decided to create a Kindle for kids that is a dedicated reading device, without the distractions you may find on the tablet, including TV shows, games and films.

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The Kids tablet is aimed at children aged 3-12 years, but, that bulky, protective case on the tablet makes it look more suitable for younger children. The Kindle for Kids, on the other hand, is aimed at children aged 7-12 years, and the fact that it's protected by a sleek, unobtrusive-looking case, means that it will be a hit with the kids at the higher end of that age range.

The adult Fire HD tablet has a new 10.1-inch widescreen display, a faster processor, up to 12-hours mixed-use battery life, and new colours, including the first All White version. Amazon has added a USB-C charging slot for the first time. The Kids HD tablet has the same new display, along with the kid-proof case, the two-year guarantee and access to Fire for Kids unlimited with all the age-appropriate TV shows, films, games and educational apps a child could want.

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The new Kindle for Kids is available for £99.99, whilst the Fire HD Kids tablet is priced at £199.99, and the standard Fire 10 HD tablet is available for £149.99. The new devices will be available to pre-order from Thursday, October 10, with shipping beginning on October 30 from Amazon.co.uk

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