Alexa has been bridging these devices, as Amazon's AI assistant makes an appearance on more and more Amazon hardware. One of the things that fuses these two worlds together is Show Mode.
So what is Show Mode, where can you get it and what can you do with it?
What is Show Mode?
Show Mode gets its name from the Echo Show, Amazon's original Alexa device with a display. It's a mode that you can enable on the larger Amazon Fire tablets and you won't be surprised that discover that it gives you a display that reflects what you find on the Echo Show - a nice, visual, Alexa display.
That's right, Show Mode basically turns your Fire Tablet into an Echo Show.
Where can you get Show Mode?
Amazon Show Mode is available on the Fire HD 8 and the Fire HD 10 tablets. You'll need to have recent software, but it's been available since the 2017 and 2018 models, and those launched subsequently. These devices also offer handsfree Alexa - which you'll use to talk to the tablet - although it's not mandatory for Show Mode interaction. Show Mode is not available on the Fire 7.
You can run Show Mode just on the tablet, but it was originally designed to work as a docked solution, so you can convert your tablet into an Echo Show, with the benefit of charging. The latest Fire HD 8 Plus model - as pictured above - offers wireless charging and an optional wireless charging dock, so you can easily drop the tablet onto the charger and use it like an Echo Show as it displays the tablet perfectly.
Older Fire HD 8 (2018) and Fire HD 10 (2017) models also had an optional Show Mode dock. This enabled wireless charging using a case that you put the tablets into, before placing on the dock. As this is now a few years old, you might struggle to find it if you have an older tablet - and we'd suggest that the newer Fire HD 8 Plus offers a much better experience.
How to turn on Show Mode on the Fire tablet
Amazon has made it really easy to use Show Mode. Simply swipe down the quick settings from the top of the screen and you'll see a toggle for Show Mode. This will let you quickly turn it on or off.
Beyond that toggle, there's a full selection of settings in the menus.
Here you can:
- Customise the content you're shown
- Control photo slideshows
- Choose the background for Show Mode
What can you do with Show Mode?
Show Mode will let your tablet behave like an Echo Show. Using a display very similar to the Echo Show, you'll get screens that show you the weather, news highlights, as well as showing visual information when you ask a question.
As both the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 also support handsfree Alexa, that means you can ask questions and see the results - that might be sports results, it could be showing you a connected camera in your house or lyrics when listening to Amazon Music.
You'll also be able to watch Amazon Video or use it to make Alexa calls to your contacts, as well as getting news digest video clips. It also includes announcements and Drop In.
You can also quickly swipe in from the right-hand edge to open up shortcuts to take you to smart home toggles - to power your devices connected to Alexa - to open up the communication options, or to go straight to music, videos, alarms or routines without having to use your voice.
Show Mode takes your Fire tablet and provides another way for it to operate. Paired with a dock or case that will let your Fire tablet stand up, it's a great way to have a little more help from Alexa, with the advantage that you're getting two devices in one place - a tablet and a smart display.