The mobile phone industry is highly competitive, but that is probably not news to you. What could be considered news, however, is that Amazon has found a way to use its properties to get a leg up on the competition.
Indeed, this week, Amazon has announced they are slashing prices on Android phones for members of Amazon Prime. Of course, this deal does not come without a bit of a catch. The new Amazon Android phone subsidy program is a special offer that reduces the price on select Android smartphones in exchange for pre-installed Amazon apps that will show ads on the user’s phone’s lock screen.
For now, the new program only applies to two smartphones. These are the new Motorola G and the BLU R1 HD; and, as is the case with just about everything else, they are not yet available in the United States. Unlike everything else, though, they have actually have a scheduled release date (and it is very soon: July 12, 2016).
Of course, at first glance this might seem a bit intrusive but if you already own an Android Kindle e-reader or a Kindle Fire tablet then this program will be quite familiar. The lock screen ads on the new Amazon-Android phones are pretty similar to the “special offers” ads that about already appear on those devices.
These ads will not only appear on the lock screen, however, but also below any notifications that pop up on the lock screen, just like with the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Kindle Fire. Basically, if your phone is in a locked state and you get a new Gmail, you will also see an ad.
It is important to also note, though, that these ads can be swiped away or dismissed, so they are not all bad, although you cannot control how often they come. In addition, though, these ads will vary (not just native Amazon ads, necessarily, but more specific products that might be available at Amazon.com).
But while this program may seem somewhat familiar to some users, this is, in fact, the very first time Amazon has subsidized non-Amazon devices through this special offers ad platform. Perhaps more importantly, this effort underscores the e-commerce giant’s commitment to selling its proprietary services and even at the risk of becoming a bit obtrusive through inexpensive or commercial hardware.
Ironically, Amazon did not feature these ads on their flagship Fire Phone, which hit the market to nearly immediate pans.