Amazon's bringing its Kid-friendly content out of the Fire tablet and onto other devices. For starters, there's a new Kindle Kids Edition, which feat cute cases, vocabulary building tools and various other extras aimed at getting children to become more voracious readers. In my brief time with it, I became enamored enough to expect it will earn a place on our Best e-Readers page.
Available for pre-order now and shipping on Oct. 30, the $109 Kindle Kids Edition takes the entry-level Kindle (with its 6-inch, 167-ppi screen and front-lighting) and optimizes it for the younger crowd. For $20 more than the price of the regular Kindle, you’re getting lots of extra perks, starting with that case.
My favorite part of the Kindle Kids Edition is how Amazon's replaced its "special offers" (i.e. ads) with cutesy black and white drawings on the lock screen. Typically, Amazon charges $20 alone to remove the ads.
Amazon understands parents are trying to protect their kids from the less-educational sides of the internet, which is why this Kindle doesn't include the GoodReads integration and "experimental web browser" found on other Kindles.
The Kindle Kids Edition also includes two perks that are similar to what parents expect from the Fire Kids Edition tablets: a year of FreeTime Unlimited (which includes more than a thousand "kid-friendly books" according to Amazon) and the same two-year worry-free guarantee for returns. That window for returning a broken Kindle Kids Edition is possibly more valuable than any of the other perks, depending on your kid.
In terms of educational help, Amazon's Word Wise tool (which has quietly been around since 2015) which places small, helpful definitions above more complex words is now turned on by default. It can be adjusted to match the age-level a child reads at.
A long press on a word can open up a full definition, which adds that word to the Kindle's set of flash cards. There are also reading award badges (think Xbox Achievements) that give kids a little extra incentive to read every day.
Amazon's giving kids (and their parents) the choice of four cases. The blue and pink covers match the standard Fire Kids tablet cases while the other two designs are adorable drawings: Space Station and Rainbow Birds. The latter reminds me of a holiday card that I remember from my time working in the paper industry. Stay tuned for our full review of the Kindle Kids Edition.
Secondly, Amazon's also bringing its FreeTime Unlimited kid-friendly content to your TV. Starting today with Fire TV sticks and coming to Fire TV Smart TVs later this year, this deployment means families get 6 profiles (2 for parents, 4 for kids) on their TVs that work with existing FreeTime Unlimited subscriptions.
FreeTime Unlimited brings "access to thousands of premium movies and TV shows" and Amazon is highlighting content from brands such as Lego, Amazon Studios and Mattel.