Hands-on with Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon's next-generation 7 and 9-inch tablets

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Amazon already has a battle-tested international support system. Yes, it will have specialists ready to cover the whole spectrum of languages, and the Mayday feature will be available in every country where the Fire HDX is sold.

Still, it seems like an open-ended invitation for the angry, the insane, the lonely, and every other incidental character appearing in Randy Newman’s song catalog to come out and dance.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a tech-support aficionado.

And then there are the inevitable privacy concerns. Let’s say that you’re having a problem exporting the photos you took using your 8.9-inch HDX’s spiffy new camera. You don’t want this stranger at Amazon to see photos of your kids at the beach.

I asked about this scenario—while a helper was onscreen, actually. Well, it turns out you can ask the helper to close his or her view of your screen while you do whatever you need to do (like enter a password, or hide some personal messages from your Inbox).

It seems like a half-solution. A user is going to want to feel as though he or she has full privacy controls. I would have been more pleased to see a big, angry-looking toggle switch that I could tap at any time to shut the helper’s eyes.

It’s worth pointing out that Mayday features only activate when a session has been initiated by the user. Otherwise, it’s not possible for Amazon to observe your screen or hear anything going on around your device.

Of course, it would be incredible if Amazon were lying about something so… actionable. The reality isn’t the problem, anyway: It’s the perception, and Mayday is of no use to anybody who’s afraid to engage it.

The last new product Amazon announced on Tuesday is something we’ve seen before but it’s well worthy of mention: A 7-inch Kindle Fire with last year’s hardware specs is now just $139.

I appreciate the nod toward the budget-minded consumer. One kind of elegance and innovation involves adding new power and features while maintaining the old price point.

Another kind involves delivering great performance to a group of users who had previously been shut out of the latest tech revolution due to economic circumstances. I’m glad to see both types represented in today’s news.

This story, "Hands-on with Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon's next-generation 7 and 9-inch tablets" was originally published by TechHive.

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