There are a lot of new features in Amazon's Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HDX, but the one that really sets it apart is the focus on helping you actually use those new features.
Included on the new HDX tablets is a free feature called Mayday. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first told ABC News about the feature we thought it might turn the tablet into a bunker. It doesn't quite do that, but it does help protect or save you.
When you tap the button in the settings menu it connects you with a customer service representative to help you with whatever problem you might have. In a small box the video representative appears. The person can't see you, but you can see them and they can draw on your screen to point you in the right direction.
The idea, Bezos told ABC News, is all about making these devices less overwhelming.
"Sometimes we get in these situations where we don't want to tinker because something bad might happen," he said. "It brings up the question: who controls who? Are we in control of the devices or do the devices control us? The Mayday button is about giving expert advice."
|Are we in control of the devices or do the devices control us?|
When I got to try out the feature it worked just as described. Inside a small box on the screen popped up a customer service representative named Jace. "Hello there, what can I help you with?" he said. When I told him I was having a hard time locating my apps he drew a line to the apps and then showed me how to get to the App Store.
I did have some privacy concerns: What about my credit card number that is saved on the tablet? What if he is helping with my email settings and sees my password? What about my Facebook feed? In those cases the customer service rep can turn off the screen sharing; a pop up shows on top of the video box that says the screen sharing has been stopped.
The Mayday representative was able to help with other tasks too. Well, that is, all except one.
"Is there anything else I can help you with today?" he asked at the end of the conversation. When asked if he could get me a cup of coffee, he said "unfortunately not, though coffee sounds great!"
Mayday will be available only on the 7- and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablets.