When Amazon yesterday launched its new Kindle Fire tablets and the Paperwhite e-book reader, there was a tiny add-on that went almost unnoticed: each of the new Kindle Fires would include compulsory ads labeled as “Special Offers”. And now it has come to light that there is no opt-out mechanism either. An Amazon spokesperson has confirmed to CNET that there will not be an ad-free version or an opt-out mechanism. You will have ads on the Kindle Fire’s lock-screen as well as a link to “Special Offers” and sponsored deals on the home screen.

The earlier version of the Kindle Fire tablets had ads too. However, these were restricted to only the low-end Kindle e-ink devices. You could also choose to opt out of receiving advertisements by simply buying one of the higher-priced Kindles or by paying a fixed amount later.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD

The all-new Kindle Fire HD with an 8.9-inch screen. And ads.

The new Kindle Fire tablets give you no such option though. Amazon has chosen to launch a large variety of Kindle Fires, ranging from 7-inch basic models to 8.9-inch models with varying storage capacities and even 4G, but we’re not getting an ad-free version.

There was a little confusion earlier, as Engadget had reported that Amazon support staff confirmed to one of their readers that they could opt out of the advertisement system. However, Engadget later confirmed that they’d gotten in touch with Amazon and there is no way to opt out.

Amazon is hoping to make a dent in a tablet computer 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 (around Rs 8,787), down from $199 (Rs 10,998 approximately) for the original model. It will start shipping from next Friday. The 8.9-inch model will go for $299 (around Rs 16,525) and start shipping on November 20. The cheapest iPad costs $399 and the most recent models start at $499. 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. The iPad also starts at 16GB.

That means a device nearly as big as the iPad will sell for at least $100 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 and come with 32 gigabytes of memory and an 8.9-inch screen. A data plan will cost $50 a year.

It would make sense to assume consumers will not be pleased by this restriction. But would it result in a backlash or go unnoticed remains to be seen. What do you have to say about this move by Amazon?

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