Tech-Friendly: Amazon Kindle fire HDX — why include free video chat help?

By Paul Gorski

Amazon is offering free live video chat support for its new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablet, and I can’t help but ask, “Why?” This is a “tech-friendly” column, and I suppose I should be more receptive toward a tech vendor that offers free customer support, but why offer live video support for a relatively limited tablet?

Perhaps you’ve seen the television commercials where someone is holding a new HDX tablet and then presses the “Mayday” button to be greeted seconds later by an energetic customer support person via video chat. But what would you need help with?

The HDX is Amazon’s newest, fastest Fire OS (Android, really) tablet, designed to compete with Samsung Android-based and Apple iOS tablets. However, these tablets are designed to be fairly intuitive and easy to use. The HDX is a simpler device than these rivals; no rear camera on the 7-inch model, no voice control, and a much smaller library of apps from which to choose. Again, what would a user need that much help with?

The free video chat help might simply be one way to bolster slumping color Kindle sales. Rather than offer more help, I add more features. The HDX is Fire OS/Android-based, so I’d tap into the larger Android app library and add the additional camera some users seem to look for in new tablets.

On the other hand, another Amazon product, the Kindle Paperwhite, is a great e-book reader. The Paperwhite e-reader has been designed to address specific flaws in mainstream tablets: glare, text clarity and battery life. The Paperwhite has been designed to “deliver the best reading experience” offered by a tablet, and it is hard to argue with that claim.

Back to the HDX. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time with technology to appreciate the HDX free video chat support feature. What do you think? Does free video chat support make the product more interesting to you? Write a letter to the editor or post your comments online

Paul Gorski ( has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple Iie.

Posted Nov. 27, 2013

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