amazon fire tablet smart home dashboard

Credit: Amazon
  • Amazon is giving Fire tablets a smart home control hub in the Device Dashboard.
  • You can control lights, plugs, and switches from one place.
  • It’s rolling out to some 2018 and newer Fire tablets.

Amazon’s Fire tablets are now useful for more than just the usual TV shows, books and gaming — they’ll also serve as controllers for your Alexa-powered devices. ZDNet reports that Amazon is rolling out a Smart Home section in the Device Dashboard that turns Fire tablets into control hubs.

Press a Smart Home button on the navigation bar (at bottom left) and you’ll see quick controls that let you quickly toggle or access individual devices like cameras, lights, and thermostats. You also have toggles that control every device from a given category — you can turn off all your switches at night, for instance.

See also: The best smart home devices you can buy

You’ll need a relatively recent tablet to use the Smart Home hub, at least at first. Amazon is deploying it now to the 2018-era Fire HD 8, 2019 Fire 7, 2019 Fire HD 10 and 2020 Fire HD 8 models.

This is overdue in some ways. Amazon has an extensive ecosystem of smart home gadgets, ranging from smart plugs to Ring cameras, and it was surprising that Fire tablets didn’t already have a central location for controlling all of them. Third-party Alexa hardware has been on the market for several years.

Even so, there’s little doubt this is a welcome update if you’re deeply invested in Amazon hardware. You now have an easy way to manage your smart home from a Fire tablet without turning to individual apps or Alexa voice commands. That could be particularly helpful if you want to manage numerous devices at once, or just don’t want to wake a sleeping partner to turn on a light in the hallway.