Next Kindle Fire Will Be Cheaper Because It Shows Ads

Senior Contributor
09.04.12 4 Comments

Advertising is one of two methods to make money in consumer electronics, the other being to be a huge multi-billion-dollar conglomerate already. There are all sorts of ideas to cram even more ads into your life. Amazon’s is to make its Kindle Fire incredibly unpopular by making it an ad machine you can’t escape and setting the stage to make it an incredibly intrusive window into your life.

The next Kindle Fire has a problem. For $200, you can get a Nexus 7, which is better in every conceivable way and has a full Android system, instead of Amazon’s slower tablet with a busted OS designed to push MP3s on you. It’s hard to see the appeal of a Kindle Fire, especially since if you hack it, Amazon will switch it back with every firmware update, because f*** you and your desire to use the equipment you own the way you want.

So, their bright idea is to have it be ad-supported. When waking up the tablet, you’d see an ad. Owners of an e-ink Kindle are already familiar with this strategy, and you can pay $30 to get rid of the ads altogether. The problem I see here is twofold. First, this is a slippery slope. If ad revenue isn’t up to snuff, Amazon can just add more of them. At any time. Without asking. Similarly, data collection is probably a tempting revenue source as well.

Secondly, customers are likely to resent being asked to pay $30 to make ads go away. The Kindle Fire is basically a sales system: It’s designed to push Amazon books, MP3s, and Instant Video purchases. That it’s serving up ads with no identifiable benefit to the users will probably be annoying.

In short, buy a Nexus 7.

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