Amazon releases new Kindles

Amazon has started selling faster and lighter Kindle tablets with a video helpdesk feature. Kindle Fire HDX tablets have a “Don’t Panic” feature for users to call technical support if things go pear-shaped.

A representative, who can see the screen, will help troubleshoot by even navigating the device remotely.

The service is free for HDX customers and is being touted as a way that Amazon can appear different from similar devices.

Amazon wants a 15-second response time for its Mayday service and is training “thousands” of reps in time for the Christmas rush.

Chief executive Jeff Bezos said that the system being established will make Amazon more efficient. It is not clear what people will think about Amazon staff nosing around their tablets, or if the NSA will be able to use the service to snoop on people.

The latest Kindles run the newest version of Amazon’s own Google Android-based operating software codenamed Mojito.

The tablets, one with a 7-inch (18cm) screen and one with an 8.9-inch screen, are lighter and have a more powerful chip than the last Kindle HD line. The HDX tablets come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage sizes.

The smaller Kindle Fire HDX tablet starts at $229 and the bigger tablet starts at $379, both for 16GB wi-fi only models. By comparison, Apple’s 16GB wifi iPad mini starts at $329, and its 16GB full-sized wi-fi iPad starts at $499.

So far, Amazon is taking pre-orders for wi-fi only models, with shipping scheduled for October for the 7-inch tablet and November for the 8.9-inch tablet.

Wireless 4G versions of both will also be available, for $100 extra, later this year.

Amazon is selling an updated version of its Kindle Fire HD for $139, down from $199 for the last generation.