We hope you like the screensaver ads on Amazon's new Kindle Fire lineup because you're stuck with them.
Amazon is including its Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers in its updated Kindle Fire as well as its Kindle Fire HD tablets. As Amazon states, these offers display "on the lock screen and lower left hand corner of the home screen," meaning they won't interfere with the device itself or appear in other apps.
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Amazon first started implementing Special Offers on its traditional Kindle e-reader's back in 2011. The program was originally designed as a way for users to save money off the price of a Kindle, in exchange for allowing ads to appear on the screensaver and at the bottom of the home screen.
Today, Amazon charges $20 less for its Special Offers Kindle devices than it does for an ad-free devices. In the past, users have been able to opt-out of ads after buying a Special Offers Kindle in exchange for an additional $20.
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With the newest Kindle Fire devices, however, there will be no opt-out of the ad program. That means that offers on the lock screen and at the bottom of the home screen will be part of the ecosystem.
Good Opportunity for Amazon and For Content Creators
While some customers might chafe at the idea of being forced to view ads and special offers on their gadget, we think this is an extremely shrewd move for Amazon.
Using real estate on its devices to showcase offers and products within the Amazon ecosystem is win-win for the company. Not only can Amazon sell sponsored spots for advertising revenue, it can help push users to spend more money within the Amazon ecosystem using the Special Offers tool.
For content owners -- think app developers, music labels, film and TV studios and authors and publishers -- this could be an effective way to promote a release to a large audience of users.
For consumers -- the net impact of the ads will likely be almost entirely positive. Amazon's pricing on its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD devices is extremely aggressive -- undercutting nearly every major player in the tablet space. It only makes sense that advertising is one of the ways the company is able to offset costs -- lest the devices get sold at too much of a loss.
Though some consumers might complain about screensaver ads -- we think most would rather have them appear rather than pay another $50 or $75 for a gadget.
The Power of the Ecosystem
For years, we've been hearing whispers that Google was planning on launching phones or tablets fully subsidized by advertising.
On paper, the move would make complete sense. Google's business was build off of selling ads on search results, email and websites. Moreover, Google has conditioned its users into accepting ads in its products, in exchange for useful web and cloud services. Going to the next level and offering a discount -- or full-subsidy -- on a Google-branded device seems like the obvious next step.
So why hasn't Google made this move?
In part, it's because in spite of the company's huge advertising network, its content ecosystem doesn't have the ubiquity of Amazon or iTunes. When Google launched Google Play -- the consolidation of the Android Market, Google Music and Movies stores and its Google Books storefront -- it was a move towards building more mindshare around its various content offerings.
Still, aside from apps, Google lacks the catalog of both Amazon and Apple when it comes to music, film, TV shows and books.
Amazon's advertising campaign for the new Kindles reinforces its role as a content destination, with the focus less on the device and more on what the device lets you access.
What Do You Think?
What do you think of the way Amazon is integrating ads into its products? Shrewd business move or over-the-top? Let us know in the comments.
1. Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Landscape
This story originally published on Mashable here.