Amazon Rebrands, Expands Its Offerings for Kids

Posted on September 14, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Cloud, Mobile, Smart Home with 2 Comments

Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited are now called Amazon Kids and Amazon Kids+, and each is getting new content and features.

“The new names reflect our continued commitment to invest in and expand kids’ experiences, including bringing fun, educational content to kids and providing parental controls that give families peace of mind,” an Amazon announcement notes. “Amazon Kids+ already offers more than 20,000 books, movies, Audible books, games, and Spanish-language content designed just for kids. Today, we’re bringing even more content and features we hope families will love.”

For those unfamiliar, Amazon FreeTime (now Amazon Kids) is a free parental controls service aimed at parents of children aged 6-12 using Amazon’s devices and services. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (Now Amazon Kids+) is an inexpensive subscription offering ($3 per month for Prime members, or $5 per month for others) that provides thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, Audible books, and games for use on compatible Fire, Fire TV, Android, iOS and Kindle devices, and hundreds of hours of ad-free radio stations and playlists, Audible books, and a growing list of premium kid’s skills on compatible Echo devices.

So what’s new, besides the names?

New home screen experience. On Fire tablets, Amazon Kids now provides a new home screen theme that’s recommended for kids who are 8 or older and which, in Amazon’s words, “looks and feels more like a ‘grown-up’ tablet.” The new theme will roll out in the coming weeks.

Announcement broadcasts. Kids can now use their Fire tablet to broadcast a message in their voice to everyone in the home. This feature will also roll out in the coming weeks.

More videos and music. Amazon has added hundreds of new video titles aimed at those age 6 to 12, including “gaming playthrough videos and PG and live-action titles from popular brands and characters like Angry Birds, LEGO, Transformers, Barbie, Carmen Sandiego, and more.” You can also more easily access music stations from iHeartRadio Family directly on the Amazon Kids home screen of your child’s Fire tablet, Amazon says.

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Comments (2)

2 responses to “Amazon Rebrands, Expands Its Offerings for Kids”

  1. Chris_Kez

    For any parents looking to supplement their collection of kids books I have two recommendations. First, try the Libby app by Overdrive, which connects to your local library's digital collection. Second, I recommend checking out the epic! service (search for epic digital library). When our schools went online in the spring all students received a 90 day free trial and our second grader read more than I'd ever seen before so we kept up the subscription; it worked well on the iPad and the Surface Pro.

  2. jgraebner

    They still haven't solved the biggest, most baffling problem with their kid offerings. As the announcement notes, these services are intended for ages 12 and under. Meanwhile, a full Amazon account has an 18 and over requirement. Basically, there is no way for a teenager from 13-17 to actually use an Amazon device, unless they use it in the too simplistic kid modes, use it under a parent's account (which potentially gives access to the parent's data), or they lie about their age to sign up for a full account.

    Amazon actually does have teen accounts, but they only grant web-based access to Prime Video and the ability to place orders that require parental approval. A teen account can't be used to log in to a Fire Tablet, Fire TV, a Kindle, or an Echo.

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