Amazon adds 'Mayday' button tech support to new Kindle Fire HDX tablets
The device's customer support experts can take over your screen and virtually guide you through your questions via a live video feed.
Apple customers may have access to some "geniuses" at the mall, but Amazon
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Once the representative answers, they can see your screen but can't see you, so no need to worry about video-chatting with a stranger. Amazon wants customers to feel like they are having human interaction without having to visit a physical store.
Screen-sharing technology is readily available through other services,, and live, online customer service chat boxes are nothing new, but Amazon's combination of these features with a one-sided video chat sets its customer service approach apart from its competitors.
CNET's David Carnoy, who has seen a demo of the new Mayday feature, said it's like Amazon's version of Apple's Genius Bar. The button looks like a life preserver and is located where you set your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options. The rep, who appears in a small video box on the screen, can take over the tablet and circle a menu or draw an arrow to point to something. Carnoy said it may initially be unnerving for some customers, but will help those who are less tech-savvy troubleshoot easily.
Amazon soon run TV ads to promote the new feature, much like Apple did with Siri, according to Carnoy. Amazon thinks Mayday sets its tablets apart from others in the space.
"They see it as a key selling point and plan to do heavy marketing around it," Carnoy said.
Consumers have longof Apple's Genius Bar since it gives users a convenient place to visit, and actual people to talk to, when they need some tech support. Amazon has as well. In fact, CEO Jeff Bezos has said Amazon if they came up with the right setup. Presumably, an Amazon store would have on-site customer service, but Mayday could be another way Amazon gives customers the services they want without the e-commerce giant needing to lay down any bricks.