Amazon is pushing its new Kindle Fire tablets this holiday season with a new kid-friendly subscription service.
On Wednesday Amazon introduced Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, an all-you-can-eat service created just for kids aged 3 to 8, available only for the 2nd-gen Kindle Fire and the two new Kindle Fire HD tablets.
This new subscription service, slated to launch soon, will encompass a wide variety of popular kid-friendly content including books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows. Kids will see familiar faces like Elmo, Dora, Thomas & Friends, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen, Curious George and more.
“FreeTime Unlimited gives kids the freedom to explore age-appropriate content on their own and pick for themselves what they want to watch, play or read next,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "For as little as $2.99 a month, your child will have unlimited access to thousands of popular books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows from Disney, Nickelodeon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, PBS, Sesame Workshop and more.”
Amazon Prime members will receive a discount when subscribing to the new FreeTime Unlimited service, paying $2.99 per child or $6.99 per family. Customers not signed up with Amazon Prime can still subscribe to the new service, but will be charged more, costing $4.99 per child or $9.99 per family. The service will be built into the new over-the-air update slated to arrive in the coming weeks for the all-new Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablets.
Kindle FreeTime was originally introduced on the new Kindle Fire tablets months ago which "re-invents parental controls" and offers new tools like time limits and content management. Once a parent signs up for the Unlimited subscription service, "thousands" of content titles automatically appear in FreeTime, sorted by their kids’ age and gender, alongside the titles parents have already approved from their own collection of content.
According to a list of features, all apps offered in FreeTime Unlimited will have their in-app purchasing options removed. The interface will be simple enough so that kids can explore all the content on their own and pick for themselves what to read, watch or play next. All of the content is already pre-screened for age-appropriateness, Amazon said.
Everything Kindle FreeTime Unlimited has to offer can be seen here. The library is incredible, spanning from Barney to Fruit Ninja to Bob the Builder to SpongeBob SquarePants. PaidContent calls this new service "ambitious", and they're right: Amazon could very well move even more units once parents of 3 to 8 year-old kids see what they can get for a low monthly price. What's surprising is that Amazon isn't asking for more money given all the brands offered under the FreeTime Unlimited roof.
"The books are a particularly strong point: There are over 1,000 titles, and participating publishers include Chronicle, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Andrews McMeel," PaidContent points out. "Since many of these books cost over $4.99 apiece, this is clearly a good deal."
Unfortunately, the new subscription service is locked to the three new Kindle Fire tablets – it's not even available on the 1st-generatgion Kindle Fire. Either Amazon is shooting itself in the foot by implementing this limitation, or has made a brilliant move to market its tablets to parents searching for a safe virtual place for their kids to play this holiday season.