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Android

Amazon Prime Will Knock $50 Off an Android Phone If You Watch Amazon's Lock-Screen Ads (recode.net) 153

It's no secret that Amazon's Fire Phone tanked on the market. But while the e-commerce giant is keeping a distance from smartphone manufacturing business for some time, it is not ignoring the platform. The company is now willing to offer its Prime members a $50 discount on two unlocked phone models should they agree to see ads on the lock-screen of their smartphone. Recode reports:Unlike the Fire Phone, which used Amazon services in place of Google, these two phones (the fourth-generation Moto G and Blu R1 HD) will include all the standard Google apps (Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, etc.) along with Amazon apps for shopping, watching video and playing music. With the discount, the Blu phone will sell for just $49, while the price of the Moto G drops to $149. The move is clearly a modest one but could at some point become more significant, particularly if Amazon is willing to strike deals with other hardware makers to include its apps and services.The bigger news is Amazon finding its way into Google Mobile Services-powered Android smartphones. Most of the Amazon-branded devices don't have Google Mobile Services (Google Play, Google Play Services, Gmail etc).
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Amazon Prime Will Knock $50 Off an Android Phone If You Watch Amazon's Lock-Screen Ads

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  • Not nearly enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @01:04PM (#52414717)

    I presume that you must use Amazon's lock screen, which means no third-party ones. $50 off the purchase of two phones in exchange for no longer being able to use the lockscreen of my choice and having ads on it?

    I simply don't see the value proposition there.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      Marketing translation: Amazon wins, you lose!
    • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @01:24PM (#52414873)

      With ads comes monitoring and analytics, not to mention browser fingerprinting. I'll pass.

      I wish Amazon would offer the opposite. Pay a bit more, get a phone with up to date specs, a MicroSD card, two SIM card slots, with the bootloader unlockable with fastboot oem unlock, like the Nexus series, and certified builds of CyanogenMod, and bloatware free ROMs, with source code for all SoC drivers available.

    • by mrops ( 927562 )

      Is this a good will agreement?

      What is stopping me to change the lock screen or the OS completely if its tied down somehow?

    • "I simply don't see the value proposition there."

      Amazon is part of the competition. Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and others are all competing to see who can be most abusive.

      My opinion, shared by others.
    • There isn't, but that's not the point. Penis enlargement pumps are still selling despite everything that has been said on them. So, I suppose this proposition will get them some extra market share which is the goal.
    • Neither do I. However, there's a huge part of the population who think "$50 is $50, if I can get it for $50 less, that's $50 I can spend on ______". I'm guessing that it's not a majority, but with a potential customer base of Billions, even if Amazon only sells this to 0.01% of the world, that's a huge hit.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      The value proposition is as simple as can be, in fact you can quantify it: it's fifty bucks in your pocket.

      I took this deal on the Kindle Paperwhite, and I have to say it works for me. Whether this is a good deal for you on a phone depends on how attached you are to your particular favorite lock screen. I expect many people aren't.

      • No, a "value proposition" is the total amount of value involved when you take the benefit (the $50) and subtract the value of what you're giving up for that benefit. That value, in this case, is completely subjective -- and for me, it's worth a lot more than $50 -- so the value proposition is negative dollars. Other people place a different value on what they're being asked to give up. For them, the value proposition is different. That's completely legitimate.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      That's because you don't see much value in $50. While it's nice to be so well-off that you don't have to consider the price difference, not everyone is so lucky. Whether those to whom $50 is a significant amount should be signing up for Amazon Prime and buying one of these phones is an entirely different discussion.

      • Actually, I consider $50 to be a lot of money. It's not that I don't think $50 is valuable, it's that I think that what Amazon is asking of me is worth a lot more (to me) than $50.

  • Nightmare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scottingham ( 2036128 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @01:07PM (#52414737)

    What a fucking nightmare!

    I wouldn't do this even if it made the phone completely free.

    • nightmare!

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        nightmare!

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        You don't know how the concept effects him. I actually had a bad dream last night about my computer updating to Windows 10. I think the topic came up because of recent reading about that woman who won $10,000 for her business machine being borked. But anyway, yes. It was a literal nightmare about Microsoft.

    • first Bezo wants you to buy his phone, with all kinds of "buy pallet of Kleenex now" buttons. at a premium.

      now he wants to pay you to put ads, probably from services taken over by malware, on the lock screen, so you can be pirated while it charges.

      probably bomb you with special offers when his rocket company starts sending up payloads. first guy who gets hit with a payload that didn't untie the bundle is going to sue until he owns the place.

      Bezo the bozo may have finally turned a real profit, but the evil

  • Fuck Adazon.

    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      I should probably point out that this offer is completely optional. You're free to pay the regular price for the phone if you don't want the one with ads.

      People who don't care can get a 25%-50% discount on their phone. Does it upset you that people you don't know are exchanging an ad-free experience for a discount on a low-end mobile phone?

      Honestly, what do you have to complain about?

      • It's optional today, it's not optional tomorrow. Yes, this upsets me. Look at Samsung TVs. Look at cable TV. You seem to be very quick to defend advertisers. Are you one of them? Do you make money off of ads?
        Ads invade privacy, hog bandwidth, and present serious security risks. I'd rather swim naked in the Ganges.

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          We all wish you'd swim naked in the Ganges.

        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          It's optional today, it's not optional tomorrow.

          Pure paranoia. They've been doing this for 5 years now without incident. What makes you think they'll force ads on full-price products, or not offer the ad-free full-price product at all? What could they possibly have to gain?

  • by mjm1231 ( 751545 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @01:14PM (#52414801)

    What stops me from buying the reduced price phone, and then installing cyanogenmod on it, and avoiding the ads? I'm sure there will other simpler methods for disabling the ads as well.

  • If you must have ads the lock screen is probably the ideal space but I'm not sure what Amazon is trying to achieve here. This plan would basically self select for only the poorest users that are not inclined to spend even 50 dollars more for a better experience -not the demographic I'd want to target my ads to.
    • Or buying a cheap phone for a teenager....

    • They show ads on the lock screen, but the rat's nest of baked in and locked down apps and services that feed you those ads will also be phoning home to the mothership and selling every single thing you do on your phone.

      • by narcc ( 412956 )

        That's paranoid.

        Amazon has offered their customers discount ebook readers and tablets subsidized by ads for years. You can even unsubscribe from the ad supported service, though a small fee is assessed if you received a discount on the initial purchase of the device. (You can add ads to your lockscreen by subscribing to their ad service, and unsubscribe to get rid of them for free.)

        Since they started offering these discounts 5-years ago, none of the privacy hawks have complained about Amazon's policies.

    • Some people get to be (and stay) poor by having poor impulse control, particularly impulse buying. Brick and mortar snack shops attached to gas stations are a testament to this fact.

  • It's about time companies pay us for the privilege of showing us their crap. Though to be honest, I wouldn't expect lock-screen ads to be worth $50, nor conversely $50 be worth having lock-screen ads.

    • by Hans Lehmann ( 571625 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @01:34PM (#52414957)
      Remember when grocery stores in the U.S. first starting giving "discounts" if you used your loyalty card, or whatever it was called at the time, that allowed them to track your purchases? Now they just raise the prices on select items far above the price of their competitors, then only sell it to you for the normal price if you hand over your personal data. The same thing will eventually happen with phones.
      • Yup. But there might be a sliver of hope here. I don't use loyalty cards, and I avoid shopping at places that offer them because of what you just said: the odds are overwhelming that everything in the place is overpriced. Instead, I go to a store that doesn't use loyalty cards (they aren't as rare as you might think, at least in my area).

        Or perhaps not. My personal expectation is the same as yours, that phones that don't unduly track me, or on which I can install my own OS, are going to be available but cos

        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          the odds are overwhelming that everything in the place is overpriced.

          Yeah, you could play guessing games. I guess that could be fun. What a normal person would do, however, is compare prices for identical products across several stores in the area to see if the stores which offer discount cards have generally higher prices than their competitors.

          (Also, "the odds are overwhelimg"? How would you even go about computing such a thing? You're obviously using that phrase rhetorically, so I'm not nit-picking. I just wanted to point out that you're starting from a pretty cynical

          • Yeah, you could play guessing games. I guess that could be fun. What a normal person would do, however, is compare prices for identical products across several stores in the area to see if the stores which offer discount cards have generally higher prices than their competitors.

            Now why would you think I hadn't done this? I have. The vast majority of stores in my area that use affinity cards tend to have higher prices across the board from those that don't. Not all of them do, but most. Enough that it works as a rule of thumb for stores I'm not familiar with.

            Also, there's no conspiracy theory involved here at all, let alone a crazy one.

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        Now they just raise the prices on select items far above the price of their competitors, then only sell it to you for the normal price if you hand over your personal data.

        Just go to the competitors. You don't have to buy everything at the same place.

    • Companies pay huge amounts to show you their crap. Advertising/marketing accounts for anywhere from 20% (bigger ticket) to 90% (more niche/fad oriented) of the cost of products on the commercial market.

  • I'm good with this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @01:28PM (#52414913)

    This is the right way to integrate advertisement.

    1. Let the user know before the sale

    2. Offer an incentive to compensate for the bandwidth/convenience/intrusion

    3. Allow the same equipment to be bought with or without the advertising

    While I would never buy in personally, I believe this is the first attempt to treat customers fairly when it comes to advertising and data collection.

    You should also be able to disable the advertisements after the traditional subsidy period has ended---so 2 years for mobile.

    • Yes, I agree. Amazon isn't doing anything wrong here as near as I can see. It's not even in the ballpark of anything I would personally be OK with, but nobody's being deceived or coerced.

    • They had a similar model with a Kindle a few years back. I actually ordered the Kindle as soon as it was available because I knew it would sell out. Then I read the description and shit and saw that what I got was a Kindle + adware. I canceled the order and never got a Kindle. Fuck ads.

      • by narcc ( 412956 )

        Ah, I see. You're upset because you didn't bother to read the description of the product you were buying and felt foolish. You blame Amazon, even though the product was very clearly labeled as being subsidized by ads, because you don't want to accept that you made a mistake.

        You could have opted-out of the ads, once you realized YOUR mistake, though you'd need to pay difference to cancel the subscription. The ads would have been disabled before the product even arrived at your door!

        Yeah, I get that you ha

        • I'm not upset, you clown. I canceled the order after finding out it had ads. It cost me nothing. It cost Amazon a sale.
          Ads are never optional. There was a time when cable TV had no ads because viewers paid for the content through their cable subscription. Now cable TV has ads out the ass. If you give them an inch, they will take a mile.

          • There was a time when cable TV had no ads because viewers paid for the content through their cable subscription.

            You are confusing cable Tv with PREMIUM channels on cable TV.

            Before Premium channels existed, Cable TV basically re-transmitted Over the Air channels from further away than than a "normal" house mast antenna could receive over a wire...and that was it. And since those were OTA channels they had ads.

            • No, and I can tell you're under 40 years old. Cable TV used to have channels that had no commercial interruptions. They were not premium channels like HBO and Shotime are today. It was a major selling point.

              • Dude I'm 49. What you're thinking of are the very early incarnations of channels like AMC or Bravo, which saw themselves as being more akin to premium cable. In fact AMC WAS originally a premium channel. That didn't last. And if youd been paying attention you would have noticed the commercials on TBS, USA, MTV, etc. I most certainly saw commercials on cable in 1972. Cable's selling point wasn't zero commercials, it was having more than 3 or 4 channels

                • That's a little young to be going senile. I'm not thinking of premiums, I'm thinking of paid cable, which was a shock to many people. Why would you pay for TV and then pay for the channels? Because of the extra channels it carried, paid for by your subscription, and not ads.

                  Of course I've noticed the commercials on cable channels. That's my fucking point. Cable WAS commercial-free. Now it's not. Amazon is making ads optional now. Tomorrow they won't be optional. Does anyone remember Hulu Plus?

          • by narcc ( 412956 )

            I'm not upset, you clown. I canceled the order after finding out it had ads. It cost me nothing. It cost Amazon a sale.

            Sure you were. You were upset with yourself that you failed to read the product description. It had nothing to do with them offering the product with ads. You blamed them for your silly mistake to protect your ego. Had you bought the full-price ad-free version initially, would you still have canceled your order had you discovered that they offered an ad-subsidized version? I doubt it.

            If you give them an inch, they will take a mile.

            Any evidence? They've been well-behaved for five years and counting. So far, there's no sign that they'll force ads on

      • We got the kindle with ads - it's not a big deal, the ads are 97% less intrusive than lead-ins on YouTube, or normal broadcast TV. I wouldn't want it on my phone, but for the 12 year old's tablet, yeah, it was a good financial trade.

  • I will consider having a phone with ads on its lock screen when a company is paying me to own it, and that is over and above fully paying for the data plan necessary to deliver such ads to the phone.
  • Do I actually have to watch them or can I just let them run and pretend I'm paying attention?

    Or can I root the friggin' thing and do away with the ads altogether? Inquiring minds want to know...

    • Do I actually have to watch them or can I just let them run and pretend I'm paying attention?

      No, you have to watch them. It comes with little robot arms that grasp your eyelids and keep them open, then it sprays you with CS spray if you don't keep your attention on the screen.

      • No, you have to watch them. It comes with little robot arms that grasp your eyelids and keep them open, then it sprays you with CS spray if you don't keep your attention on the screen.

        Thank you for answering my question, Mr Bezos.

        Actually, I was wondering if, as some have mentioned about other ads, you'd have to answer some question about the content to prove you actually watched it. I should have made that clearer in my question.

        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          My wife has a Fire tablet with ads. They're completely unobtrusive. They don't interrupt or delay you in any way.

    • I think when you root the phone they send you an "upgrade" bill, as their ad showing software won't be phoning home anymore.

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @02:25PM (#52415393) Homepage
    When the Fire Phone was announced, I watched the presentation video live. I thought the tech was interesting. But then I began to notice something as they demoed more and more features of the phone.

    Everything about the phone is designed to sell me something. Constantly. Always. In my face.

    Hey, Amazon. Here's a free clue. From a customer who actually likes to purchase things through Amazon.

    The reason I buy a smart phone and a tablet: TO IMPROVE MY QUALITY OF LIFE.

    NOT to serve as your advertising billboard.

    Here is a follow on problem that develops from that. Since I therefore use Android, not fire phone, since the purpose of a smartphone is to improve my life, I naturally have a number of video apps. Netflix. Hulu. HBO. PBS. Others. And . . . I have Prime Video with Starz.

    BUT . . . in an anticompetitive move, Amazon won't put its video as an Android app in the Google Play store. So I can watch it on my Roku. But not on much else.

    I also own a Chromecast. When Amazon introduced the Fire Stick, Amazon stopped selling Chromecasts. And since Amazon Video doesn't have an app on Android, it also doesn't work on Chromecast. This is a strong disincentive for me to pay for Amazon Prime video or Starz. Amazon: you've ruined my trust in order to try to sell me a Fire Stick that I don't need, don't want, and all the while, I am *already* a subscriber to Prime video and Starz. What a dumb move. Make me lose trust in your entire business in order to boost the Fire Stick? Really?

    BTW, I hate monopolists or wannabe monopolists.
  • In 2000 my older sister bought her first PC. She thought it was a bargin as all she had to do was sign up to some online service and get a $200 gift certificate, or something. The downside was you got a trifecta of shit. An eMachine running Win ME. And to top it off there was a persistent banner ad just below the taskbar. That was the condition of the deal. I guess she didn't mind it too much.
    • In 1997ish Nielsen services paid me something like $30 a month to put spyware on my PC and watch what websites I browsed. I think I played along for about 2 years, but then their software wasn't compatible with the new browser I wanted to use, so I dropped them. Seemed like a fair trade, it was 99% unobtrusive and I really didn't care if they watched what I did on the computer.

  • This is business as usual for Amazon...They've been doing this for the Kindle's they sell for ages...

    But why lock yourself into a kindle/phone that is locked to Amazon's store? Don't know, other than they are CHEAPER that way... Hmmm... Seems Amazon knows how to make money, maybe this will get them into the phone market too... I know I have TWO of those Kindle things in my house right now. Darn good tablets for the price.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2016 @06:52PM (#52416867) Journal

    Look, this phone isn't locked into shit. It's rootable. And from what I have read, you aren't even required a carrier or a plan when you buy it. I'm personally very tempted as I have a crappy dumb phone and honestly, this is a steal. But I'm a poor person and $50 is a lot of money. But I have no idea why the fuck most of you are bitching about being locked into Amazon when that isn't even true. Slashdot used to be about people who knew shit and understood that pretty much every cellphone released today is rootable. But I guess either all the old peeps are senile or their kids use their accounts now.

    tl;dr shit is rootable, you aren't locked into anything.

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