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The New Kindles Have a Button Unlike Anything You’ve Seen

By Ryan Nakashima

Amazon is refreshing its line-up of tablet computers with new devices called Kindle Fire HDX, which are significantly faster and lighter than the previous generation.

The 7-inch (17.8-centimeter) and 8.9-inch (22.6-centimeter) versions also have sharper, more colorful displays than older models, and both have more pixels per inch than the latest iPad.

To help those who are unfamiliar with tablets, the new Kindles come with a feature called “Mayday”, which allows users to summon a live customer service representative in a tiny video window. The helpers can explain new features or troubleshoot problems while guiding users with on-screen hand scribbles. They can even take control of the device from afar.

CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the feature to reporters, saying it is “completely unique” and takes advantage of Amazon’s massive cloud computing and customer service infrastructure. It also builds on Amazon.com Inc.’s reputation for excellent customer service.

“You shouldn’t have to be afraid of your device,” Bezos said.

In a demo, Bezos asked an on-screen customer service rep to recommend a hot app. The rep mentioned “Angry Birds: Star Wars II”. Bezos also received instructions on how to set time limits on various activities for children.

In the May-July period, Kindles accounted for 17 percent of all tablets sold in the U.S., compared to 48 percent for Apple’s iPad and 8 percent for Samsung’s Galaxy line, according to NPD.

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