Amazon‘s Kindle presentation on Thursday featured a lot of big talking points, but one thing the company was understandably silent on was the “Special Offers” that will show on its new Kindle Fire HD line of tablets (along with the refresh of the original Kindle Fire). Subsidizing devices by showing ads isn’t anything new for the company, but once it became clear that these new Kindle Fires would be showing ads, people began wondering if Amazon would allow users to opt out of the special offers program by paying a fee, as it has done with its devices in the past. At first, Amazon said that an opt out option wouldn’t be available, and it’s pretty easy to imagine where things went next.
Amazon was met with anger from prospective buyers once it said that would be no opt out option, and now the company has changed course completely. According to CNET, Kindle Fire users will be able to opt out of the Special Offers program by paying a $15 fee. That fee is a bit lower than we’ve seen in the past, but don’t expect consumers to be happy with the fact that they have to pay to remove ads from a tablet – it’s one thing when ads are displayed on an eReader, but when ads are shown on a more expensive tablet, to many that’s an entirely different beast.
After paying the $15 fee, the ads from the lock screen and the home page will be removed. Some will likely be perturbed with having to pay a fee regardless of how much that fee actually is, while others are breathing a sigh of relief at this news. After all, since it’s understood that Amazon keeps its prices low by showing ads on its products, some never had a problem with paying an opt out fee in the first place. A number of potential Kindle Fire HD purchasers are probably just happy that they’ll have the option to opt out of Amazon’s special offers.
Still, there are some who are questioning why they need to see ads when the Kindle Fire HD’s biggest competitors – the Nexus 7 and the iPad – don’t force users to view ads anywhere. It’s true that these special offers could potentially save users some cash, but with one of the Kindle Fire HD models costing $499, it leaves a number of Kindle fans wondering why ads are necessary. Amazon says in its statement that “customers love our special offers and very few people choose to opt out,” so perhaps these offers do have value to some customers. What do you think of Amazon’s latest move – are ads on the Kindle Fire HD line unnecessary, or do you not mind the idea of having them shown?