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Amazon’s Mayday button helps customers propose marriage, defeat Angry Birds

amazon mayday button interesting uses kindle fire

Last year, Amazon introduced a brand-new way to get excellent customer service for your Kindle Fire HDX tablet. The Mayday feature lets users contact Amazon customer service representatives, 24 hours a day, for any reason. According to a new report issued by Amazon, Kindle Fire HDX owners have been using the feature a lot for some pretty amazing things. After all, sometimes excellent customer service isn’t just about fixing tech issues and bugs.

It turns out that the vast majority of Kindle Fire HDX customers now ask for assistance using the Mayday feature, instead of calling the Amazon customer service line. Mayday is not only quicker, but it’s simply more practical. If you need assistance with your tablet and are terrible at following verbal directions, the Mayday rep can actually draw on the screen to show you what to do, where to click, and so on.

“When we set out to invent the Mayday button, we wanted to revolutionize tech support – and we’re happy to report it’s working!” Scott Brown, director, Amazon Customer Service, said in a statement. “Seventy-five percent of customer contacts for Fire HDX now come via the Mayday button. Even as the Mayday button has grown to become the most popular way for customers to ask questions, the team’s been able to beat the response time goal of 15 seconds or less – our average is just 9.75 seconds.”

Of course, Kindle Fire HDX users also enjoy calling Mayday for really random reasons. Amazon says that one user looked to the service for help in defeating a very tough level of Angry Birds. Apparently, the customer had been stuck on the same level for an entire week and just couldn’t take it anymore. Luckily, the Mayday rep was an Angry Birds pro and helped the customer win.

Another user called to request that the rep sing “Happy Birthday” while they gave a Kindle Fire HDX to someone as a present. People also really like asking Mayday’s tech advisers to draw rainbows, unicorns, and other crazy things on their screens. One customer even enlisted a Mayday rep in a marriage proposal.

Over all, Kindle Fire HDX users who have tried Mayday seem very enthusiastic about the service, calling it “sensational” and “terrific.”

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Malarie Gokey
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Mobile Editor, Malarie runs the Mobile and Wearables sections, which cover smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and…
Amazon unveils Firefly, a new camera feature to help you buy anything and everything
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During the launch of Amazon’s Fire Phone, the company unveiled a new feature that seems designed for instant gratification, whether it involves buying impulsively or conducting on-the-fly research. According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the new feature, called Firefly, uses the phone’s camera to recognize things like books, DVDs, movies, QR codes, phone numbers, bar codes, CDs, and games. Once the phone identifies the item, it then makes a search within the Amazon database.
This means that if you find a book or a DVD that you like, you won’t need to search for it in the Amazon website or app. While demoing the app, Bezos scanned a number of products like nut bars and detergents. Once an item is included in the scanned list, tapping the item will show an action box where the product can be purchased.    
Firefly is more than an enabler for impulsive shoppers, though. Bezos said that the new feature can recognize more than 100 million items. Aside from physical objects, the phone can also recognize phone numbers and email addresses in street signs. The feature is said to use “semantic boosting” to take out irrelevant details. This is said to boost the chances of a correct reading when the surface has glare or wrinkles. 

Firefly also provides the phone with a number of impressive party tricks. Similar to Shazam, the feature can recognize songs. Once it does, it opens a page in iHeartRadio and Amazon Music where you can buy the song or purchase a concert ticket from Stubhub. The phone has the same recognition capability for movies, TV shows and art. Bezos demonstrated this feature by playing an episode of Game of Thrones. Aside from showing the Amazon product link, Firefly also displayed a page that contained the IMDB records of the actors in the scene, which is convenient if you’re into doing on-the-fly research while watching shows. Bezos also scanned two paintings: Sergei Osipov’s Cornflowers and Vittore Carpaccio’s Man with Red Hat. This pulled up the Wikipedia page for both paintings.  
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mayday amazon discontinued kindle fire hdx

[DT's Kindle Fire HDX review]
When Amazon launched its new Kindle Fire HDX tablets a couple of months back, many were interested to see the company had included an on-device 'Mayday' customer support button.
With the e-commerce giant all too aware of how frustrating such services can be – with endless button pressing and long waits – it wanted to get its Mayday offering right, promising a caller would be connected with a tech advisor within seconds of tapping the button.
On Christmas Day, a time when many were switching on a Kindle Fire for the very first time and therefore possibly experiencing a few issues with its operation, Amazon said it took an average of just nine seconds to respond to Mayday calls, easily beating its usual target time.
"We set a goal for ourselves to have a response time of 15 seconds or less when a customer tapped the Mayday button – we’re proud to say that on Christmas Day we met this goal, with an average response time of just 9 seconds,” Amazon's Dave Limp said in a release, adding, “We’re excited that millions of customers opened a Kindle Fire tablet this holiday season, and we’re glad so many customers tried out the Mayday button.”
Although it's likely many members of Amazon's tech support team would rather have been doing something more festive on Christmas Day, no doubt new Kindle Fire HDX owners were delighted to have had their queries dealt with in such a speedy fashion.
The free Mayday service is available to HDX users 24/7 and involves a video chat with an Amazon tech advisor. Whether you have an issue with the tablet's functions, or want to learn more about its features, the advisor can help. If things get tricky, they can draw on your screen to help with their explanation, or even take control of the device if you give them permission.
According to Amazon, not all of the Christmas Day callers required tech support. A group of carolers contacted Amazon's advisors to sing thanks for their work, while one young girl simply screamed when an advisor popped up on the screen, having apparently hit the Mayday button by accident.
[DT tips on ways to improve your Kindle Fire HDX]

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Amazon’s new Kindle Fire comes with a Genius Bar inside it (and a lot more)
Kindle Fire HDX

Check out our review of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablet.
Amazon didn't hold a press conference to unveil its new Kindle Fire HDX lineup, but it should have. The new tablets have some really cool new features that set them apart from the pack. And they still start at only $230.
Amazon's new Mayday feature could be one helluva selling point for the Kindle Fire HDX. You and I probably won't need it, dear reader, because if you're reading this, you're far more likely to know tech a little more than your peers. But for your mom, your non-techy friend, and the millions of other people who buy tablets but don't necessarily know how to make the most of them, this feature could be a godsend. Honestly, it should be something that comes with every phone, tablet, computer, and gadget.
Kindle Fire's Mayday feature takes Apple's Genius Bar idea to the next level.

If you pull down the options menu of the HDX, you can see a button that looks like a round life saver (not the candy) with the word "Mayday" on it. Tap this button and a video window will pop up and an Amazon tech support person will answer and help you through your problems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can see the tech support person, and they can hear, but not see, you. They can help you verbally, draw on your screen, or even take over your tablet (if you let them) to help solve problems. The best news is that it's completely free. You don't even have to sign up for Amazon Prime.
We have no idea if, or how well, this service will work, but the idea is fantastic. Not only will it save you some calls for help from your friends and family, it has the potential to really broaden everyone's knowledge on how to use the Kindle Fire HDX. It takes Apple's Genius Bar idea to the next level and should really help Amazon build a strong tech support reputation and more loyal customers. It's also one great reason to choose a Kindle Fire HDX over competing tablets like the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini.
If other manufacturers copy Amazon's Mayday feature, and it becomes an industry standard, everyone will be better off for it. It's easy to buy a tablet, but learning how to use it is not always a piece of cake. This is the kind of subtle, but game-changing feature we normally expect out of Apple. It's great to see Amazon stepping up to the plate.
Offline Prime video viewing
Streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are fantastic, but they have a major weakness: you can't watch video if you aren't connected to Wi-Fi. Tablets are built to be taken on the move, but most of them only come with Wi-Fi connections, and most of the services we use are reliant on a constant Internet connection. Amazon is the first streaming provider to change the rules.
Owners of the Kindle Fire HDX will be able to download offline copies of any Amazon Prime videos. We're hoping that this feature will work better than downloading purchased Amazon Instant Video on the iPad (it takes forever), but we applaud it either way. You can keep offline copies of a TV show or movie for up to 30 days. And once you start watching it, you have 48 hours to finish. New Kindle owners will get a month of Amazon Prime for free, which also includes free two-day shipping on select items and Kindle Library Lending – a feature that lets you borrow a book a month for free. Prime costs $79 a year.
For those who wrote off Prime video a while ago, it might be worth checking out again. It has some good exclusive shows like Under the Dome, Downton Abbey, Justified, and many more. There is an Amazon Instant Video app for iPhone and iPad, but not one for Android devices, yet.
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Chromecast is popular because it's a cheap way to get video from your phone, tablet, or computer to your TV. Getting your TV to display the Internet programs you want, easily, is one of tech's biggest challenges today, and Amazon is jumping into the ring. It won't be available at launch, but soon after, an app called Second Screen will become available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Samsung Smart TVs. Hopefully broader support will come in the future.
Second Screen will let you use your TV as your primary screen for Kindle Fire HDX video, allowing your tablet to be used to see secondary information. A new X-Ray feature connects to IMDB to let you tap characters onscreen to view more information about them and browse what films they've been in before. This is reminiscent of how Amazon's Wii U video app works. It uses the screen in the Wii U GamePad to view actors and show information from IMDB.

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