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E-readers

Amazon debuts its first ever Kindle Kids Edition

The company's kid-friendly FreeTime service is also coming to Fire TV devices.

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The Kindle Kids Edition ships Oct. 30.

David Carnoy/CNET

Amazon's been selling kid-friendly editions of Fire tablets for a while, but now it's bringing the Kids Edition concept to its Kindle e-reader. The new Kindle Kids Edition includes the entry-level Kindle bundled with a case, one year free of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited subscription service and a two-year free replacement guaranty should the device break. Available for preorder now, the bundle costs $110 and ships Oct. 30. The same hardware, without all those extras, otherwise costs $90, and there are currently no plans to offer Kids Edition versions of the Paperwhite or Oasis.

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Amazon describes FreeTime Unlimited as "an all-in-one subscription that gives kids access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, Audible books, and games on compatible Fire, Android, iOS and Kindle devices." The subscription for a single child (once the free year ends) costs $2.99 a month for Prime members or $4.99 a month for non Prime members. Meanwhile, a family plan for multiple children jumps to $6.99 for Prime members and $9.99 a month for non Prime members.

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FreeTime for Fire TV.

David Carnoy/CNET

Once you subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited you can use it with any compatible device. Amazon recently announced the service for Echo devices and today it announced that a video-centric version is now available for Fire TV devices. FreeTime on Fire TV is available on the second-gen Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K, as well as first and second-gen Fire TVs. It's coming soon to select Fire TV Edition smart TVs, according to Amazon.

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The 4 case choices for Kindle Kids Edition.

David Carnoy/CNET

Aside from its eye-catching case designs, the Kindle Kids Edition has some kid-friendly software features. Here's a quick look at the full feature set, according to Amazon: 

  • Achievement Badges: Kids can earn badges like Book Worm and Over Achiever when they make progress toward pre-defined goals.
  • Easy Discovery: With enhanced browsing and search, kids can locate titles without the exact spelling. And with smart recommendations, kids can find books related to the genres, authors and characters they like.
  • Word Wise: Kids are automatically provided short and simple definitions above difficult words, so they can keep reading with fewer interruptions.
  • Dictionary: If kids come across a difficult word, they can select the word to look up the definition via the built-in Kindle dictionary.
  • Vocabulary Builder: Words looked up in dictionaries are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder and turned into flashcards for future review and learning.
  • Kid-friendly Wallpaper: A unique set of lock screen wallpapers designed specifically for kids are included.

Separately, Amazon also announced an updated version of its Fire HD 10 tablet.