Monday 10 September 2012

Amazon backpedals, says Kindle Fire ads removable for $15 fee

Within two days of confirming that there was no way to opt out of advertisements on the new Kindle Fires, Amazon yesterday did an about-turn and said that it will, after all, provide users with an opt-out choice. All the new Kindle Fire tablets come with the “Special Offers” ads, which are displayed on the tablets’ lock screens and home screens.

According to a report by Ars Technica, the company has confirmed that users would be able to opt out of receiving ads on their Kindle Fires by paying a $15 (approximately Rs 829) fee. The company said that although very few of its Kindle reader customers have opted out of receiving special offers, it believes customers should have a choice. "With Kindle Fire HD there will be a special offers opt-out option for $15," an Amazon spokesperson stated. "We know from our Kindle reader line that customers love our special offers and very few people choose to opt out. We're happy to offer customers the choice." Amazon has confirmed that buyers of both the high-end Kindle Fire HD as well as the $159 (around Rs 8,787) Kindle Fire would be provided with the choice to opt out.

Amazon is hoping to make a dent in a tablet market dominated by Apple's iPad. Amazon has been selling lower-priced tablets at thin, if any, profit margins to boost sales of digital items from its online store. It states clearly that its ad-supported products enable it to sell the Kindle Fires at such low prices. As a result, it has been able to compete with the iPad on price.

The basic 7-inch Fire model will cost $159, down from $199 (approximately Rs 10,998) for the original model. The 8.9-inch model will go for $299 (around Rs 16,525) and start shipping on November 20. The high-end Kindle Fire HD will have two Wi-Fi channels for faster transfers. That will be crucial for high-definition movies and other large files, CEO Jeff Bezos said. The HD model will also have more storage, starting at 16 gigabytes, compared with 6GB for the old Fire.

That means a device nearly as big as the iPad will sell for at least $100 (approximately Rs 5,531) less. The Fire, however, won't have as extensive a selection of apps as the iPad. And while the HD models will have a front-facing camera for video chats, the iPad has one on the rear as well for taking photos and video.

Amazon also unveiled a premium Kindle Fire model, one with the ability to connect to the 4G cellular networks that phone companies are building. It will cost $499 (approximately Rs 27,599) and come with 32 gigabytes of memory and an 8.9-inch screen. A data plan will cost $50 (approximately Rs 2,765) a year.

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