The BLU R1 HD is an entry-level handset that was launched earlier this year in a number of different versions. While the two unlocked models of the phone come with price-tags ranging from $99.99 to $109.99, Amazon has also been selling a specially-made version for just $49.99 to Amazon Prime members. This particular model, however, comes with a caveat. It ships with a number of pre-loaded Amazon apps, and also shows ads on the lock-screen unlike the full-priced variants. It is this particular model which is now apparently a best-seller for Amazon, with reports indicating that it has become the largest-selling unlocked mobile phone on the world’s largest e-commerce site since its release last month.
Of course, the BLU R1 HD is not the only device on Amazon that has an ad-supported version which sells at a significant discount to its full-priced, ad-free variant. The online retailer also offers an ad-supported Moto G model which costs a lot lower than its ad-free counterpart. Announcing the success of these two devices, Amazon’s vice president of consumer electronics, Ms. Laura Orvidas, released a prepared statement, saying that the “vast majority” of people buying either of these two devices are opting for the lower-priced, ad-supported versions. Enthused by the success of the two handsets, the statement went on further to reveal that the retailer is already working with the two vendors, Motorola and BLU, to introduce new devices that, too, will have ad-supported variants which will be priced at a discount to the regular models.
While Amazon’s e-readers, like the Kindle Oasis and the Kindle Paperwhite, continue to do brisk business, the company’s earlier attempt to enter the smartphone market didn’t quite go according to plan, with the company having to write off millions of dollars in unsold inventory. However, of late, the company has had better success with more affordable devices like the $50 Fire tablet, which was reportedly one of the most sought-after electronics items on Amazon during the last Holiday season. Meanwhile, even though the use of ad-blocking software like Ad Block Plus and DVR services like Tivo have risen spectacularly over the past several years, bringing such products under intense scrutiny from corporate media houses in recent times, people apparently don’t mind ads too much if it saves them some money.