Amazon announced several new products in its Kindle line yesterday, emerging as the darling of low-priced consumer gadgets. While none of them are currently available in Canada, an important aspect of that cost savings was minimized under the end of the press conference.
All of the Kindle Fire products, including the higher-cost Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE, will be ad-supported. This means that targeted ads will appear on the lock screen when you first turn on the device. This “feature” was first added to the company’s line of low-cost eBook readers, and due to the front-end cost savings was a huge hit with its customers. Because the advertisements are displayed in both classy, non-garish forms, and they are only shown when the device is initially turned on, they’re about as unobtrusive as it comes.
But Amazon made little mention of the addition in its announcements, choosing to reveal the presence of ads during the hands-on time. Users won’t have the option of opting out of the ads, unlike on the eReaders.
While so-called bloatware has become a standard feature in subsidized phones — nearly every carrier has sponsorship deals with antivirus or game developers to pre-load content onto Android or BlackBerry devices — few companies have so blatantly offered consumers a choice of ad-subsidized electronics. Undoubtedly there will be a large portion of consumers that would choose to save money upfront in exchange for seeing an ad every few minutes; heck, we do this with FM radio, OTA television and the majority of web content.
If the Kindle Fire was offered in Canada, or an equivalent device for that matter, would you choose the ad-supported model if it meant saving potentially hundreds of dollars in the long run? Is there a limit to the potential intrusiveness of such an offering? Let us know in the comments.