Sep 07 AT 11:20 AM Sean Riley 35 Comments

Amazon will allow users to disable lock screen ads on Kindle Fire


You might have missed it during the official announcement, since Amazon neglected to mention it, but the new Kindle Fire lineup will include lockscreen ads to help offset those rock bottom prices they are charging for the hardware.

I’m sure many users don’t particularly care what is on their lock screen, however, there was a bit of a hue and cry from users that don’t want to see an ad for “50 Shades of Grey” bouncing around their screen every time they power their Fire on.

Well, the good news is that Amazon has confirmed in an email to one such concerned customer that you will be able to opt out of these “special offers.”

Special Offers appear directly on your Kindle Fire. Offers appear on your lock screen, and you can also view offers from the Home screen by tapping Offers. By delivering these offers to your Kindle Fire, Amazon is able to sell it for a lower price.

I understand that you would like to opt out of the special offer and willing to pay extra for opting out special offer. Options for unsubscribing special offer will be announced soon.

To ensure the utmost attention, I've also passed your message on to the appropriate people in our company. We value customer feedback such as yours as it helps us continue to improve the service and selection we provide.Customer SupportAmazon

The caveat is, of course, that it will certainly come at a price. The e-ink Kindle that allows users to pay $30 to “unsubscribe” from special offers. No word yet on whether that pricing will be the same for the Kindle Fire line.

Does this make you any more likely to pre-order, or were you not that worried about the lock screen ads to begin with? What do you think is a fair price for dispensing with the ads?

Update: CNET and now Engadget have received responses from Amazon indicating that there will be no way to disable the “Special Offers” on the Kindle Fire. It’s a surprising change from their earlier policies and I could certainly see this being a sticking point for some buyers.

Update 2: Amazon is going to need to police up their PR folk a bit as they have made what we are assuming is the final reversal on this matter. Users will be given the opportunity to opt out of the “Special Offers” and it will only set you back $15. So after all of the shenanigans I have to say Amazon came up with what seems like a very fair offer for ad averse future Kindle Fire owners.

Via: Engadget

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • Steve Heinrich

    I really want to get upset, but for the price I guess it’s hard to complain about the ads. I personally don’t want any unsolicited ads, but ads on a device in the Kindle line it’s actually relevant mainly because those things are built to make you buy content. I think charging the same price as the e-ink Kindle for removing the ads is acceptable. Trust me I hate ads, but this device isn’t marketed at android enthusiasts like myself.

    • Sean Riley

      People opt for ad-supported apps over the paid versions all the time so I think it’s a reasonable practice by Amazon.

      I do wonder if the battery life will get dinged a bit by pulling those ads for the lock screen, but I suppose no more so than any other lock screen widget.

      • Steve Heinrich

        You’re right, this is basically the same as ad-supported apps. These ads would technically be solicited because they are a trade off for the price. In this case the price of the entire device is the compromise as opposed to just an app. But for the Kindle line it makes sense.

        Hopefully the battery wont take much of a hit from these ads. I would imagine it wouldn’t.

      • Adam

        The key difference here is the *option*, or in Kindle Fire HD’s case, the lack thereof. Yes, people *opt* for the ad-supported versions of apps all the time, but in most cases, there is an *option* for an ad-free version if you want to pay up. That isn’t the case here. So it’s really not the same thing.

        However, I do still agree that it’s a reasonable practice, given the price point they’re being sold at. The device itself isn’t my cup of tea, but I can’t fault the business model.

        My only concern is content control or ratings for the lockscreen offers–i.e., if I buy one of these for my kids, can I control what kinds of offers show up on the lockscreen? As mentioned in the article, I don’t want offers for adult material showing up on the lockscreen.

        • pax

          The answer is ….Don’t buy it…I rather buy the rutton apple product than have ads on my device…This business practices suck.

          • free2bejc

            I seem to remember reading that Apple actual patented this idea for ads on a lockscreen a while back.

            In which case, it might not be too long before Apple could follow suit. Although it would seem counterintuitive to their mantra of charging as much as possible to make yourself seem the most technically advanced.

            This was only a matter of time, companies have been trying to come up with as many new places to advertise since TeVo/Sky+ came out.

            Anyway, I’ll try and find the story I’m thinking of.

      • DroidPower

        also wondering the same thing.

        Bezos did mention that people bought way more of the “special offers” edition of the older kindles than the unsubsidized version. hopefully this won’t backfire on them since these new kindle tabs do look awesome

  • Kizipotamus

    I think that’s ridiculous. Maybe acceptable on the cheapest model, but anything else is just wrong. If Google can deliver the Nexus 7 at $200 without ads, Amazon can deliver $300 and $500 (LTE does not cost that much!!!) tablets without ads, and without charging you extra to get rid of them.

    • ari-free

      “LTE does not cost that much!!!”

      ha you should see what Verizon charges

    • Sean Riley

      I think iSuppli has pegged the costs for all of the necessary LTE components at around $40 so yeah the $200 premium feels a bit extreme. I have to imagine a chunk of that is going to AT&T to secure the unique data plans.

    • theviper21

      Don’t worry, if you really want one I’m sure they’ll figure out how to root it not long after it’s out. From there, just load an AOSP and you’re good to go :)

  • Rovex

    Ive never been convinced of the value of forcing ads. I hate in-app (and now in-device) ads so much that i would never buy anything advertised out of principal. Even if i didnt i still wouldn’t. I ALWAYS ignore them and find them a visual distraction that makes the interface ugly.. Give me the option to remove them, or no sale.

  • Nathan D.

    well that sucks, always have to see a stupid ad when you unlock the device, must get annoying after a while.

  • YMS123

    Step one : Root
    Step two: CM10
    Step Three: Enjoy

    • steve


    • ChrisLH

      You shouldn’t have to root your device in order to use it without ads…and I’m speaking as someone who regularly roots my devices.

      The average consumer isn’t going to root their Kindle Fire. I’m happy that Amazon has acquiesced somewhat on this and provided an opt out option, but its concerning they went this direction in the first place.

  • lapak_zapak

    Not a way to go Amazon. Learn from Nexus!!!

  • Dan13

    I sure hope Amazon changes it’s mind about this. The prospect of ads on the lock screen puts me off a bit. Despite what we want though, I doubt it will happen. Ads would pay Amazon more money over the lifetime of the Kindles than if we all paid $30 more and were done with it. Steady stream of income vs. one time burst of mullah. Going with the former, from Amazon’s perspective, is a no-brainer. From a customer’s view point, I would definitely want to pay the $30.

  • pax

    So, people who like the idea of paying a mere few buck$ less, they let Amazon push the ads down their throats ?….Don’t be so cheap!!!

  • Tarwin

    Personally I don’t like it. But it also depends…

    What does the ad layout look like? If it’s visually pleasing it’s a little bit better.

    What are the mechanics? These are family aimed devices (evinced by the kids’ mode and controls), so I’m guessing parents don’t want their children to be able to just tap on the ad and buy the content without permission (not to mention the possibility of more adult oriented ads appearing).

    And as has been stated, the devices aren’t that cheap considering the Nexus 7 and such and that they are running on dual core A9s (though theh 8.9′s screen is the first of its kind that I know of).

    Also how well is it programmed? Does anybody remember that study where up to 40% of the power consumed by games/apps that had in app advertisements was used only by the ad mechanism (in the least efficient examples).

    Also, I like the informational quality of certain lock screens (like HTC’s) where I can see text messages/e-mails waiting for me, the big clocks for time, music player, and whatnot. Will there be any similar functionality on these lock screens or will it be consumed only by the ads? Maybe you have to interact with the ads to unlock it :P Slide the book cover that most interests you to unlock…

    But as was mentioned above…this isn’t aimed at tech afficionados. And I don’t think I’d buy one even as a backup device since there’s no google play to install my already purchased apps nor can I side-load. And I refuse to buy any device I have to hack/root in order to get the basic functionality I want/need (one reason I don’t go for Apple products).

  • alexmaco

    cm10 won’t have ads!

  • Hawaiian

    It only reminds me more of Printers vs. Ink. And to put the same perspective on that last comment, most on this site will have it rooted and custom in under 10 minutes!

  • Fiasko

    This along with the fact that bing is the search engine of choice for the kindle lineup really pushes me away. Not really sure why they try to distance themselves from Android so much while still using it.

  • Max.Steel

    Still wouldn’t buy into Amazon’s locked down ecosystem.

  • DroidPower

    Good news, TechCrunch’s reporting that Amazon’s switching back its position and will allow opt-out for 15 bucks!

  • Tony

    I already have a Nexus 7 (love it loads) but I think an opt out is very important or it will end up being rooted and loaded up with some other version of android. Oh, I also love my kindle keyboard which is still my preferred e book device.

  • sylar

    I’m not huge about the ads and that is why I will not buy one. I’m not willing to pay more money to make something that I already paid for stop displaying adds on it. This is why I have an ad blocker installed on my computers. I certainly don’t want to see ads on a tablet that I paid for the privilege to have, basically you already paid for the ads as I see it, you already bought the dang thing why should you have to pay to make it stop displaying annoying adds for things that you conceivable might want.

  • MoSDeeb

    Good for amazon, I’m sure plenty of buyers will not want their device with ads on the lockscreen.

  • ChrisLH

    Glad to see an option to opt-out. This should ALWAYS be an option, regardless of whether its an app, game, or hardware. I can’t believe Amazon didn’t think this would be an issue and have a plan already in place to opt-out of these ads.

    I also think Amazon is missing the big picture by completely locking down the tablet and forgoing any ability to customize it. A lot of people have been waiting for a quality Android tablet to compete with the iPad because they hate the locked down nature of Apple products. Most people who use Android as well as those who switch from iOS to Android do so because of the flexibility and additional functionality that comes with the ability to make the device your own.

    You shouldn’t have to root or jailbreak a device to have this capability and its why I won’t be buying a Kindle Fire. I bought the first one because I love Amazon and have been a Prime member forever. Its fine for my kids (2 and 4), but its a limited and boring device. Very much like an iProduct. People who use Android typically don’t like how limiting iOS is and I have a feeling they aren’t going to like the Fire for the same reasons. If you want a closed ecosystem with limited/boring OS functionality, you might as well go with Apple. They have a lot more developers creating content for the iPad (and upcoming iPad Mini). And content is what this is all about, right?

  • nivekkev

    Query: So if you were to turn off all of your radios so you don’t have any connectivity, would you still get the ads? If so, would those ads then be stored on your internal storage? How much space would they take up?

    • psycho


  • dubs

    What would happen where you put CM10 on the kindle. Are you violating any agreement in doing this?

  • Sheri

    I think the $15 “opting” out of the ads is a lousy option. Basically what Amazon did was make a commercial ad machine for consumers. I guess my next “option” is to put my Kindle Fire on eBay and purchase a Windows Surface Pro. Then I won’t have to look at those annoying ads. Thanks Amazon Kindle. Next time, check with your consumers first before making a decision like that. That would have been the intelligent thing to do.

  • tree dogwell

    I wouldn’t have bought if I’d known this… Utter BS.. Step it Amazon WOW

  • luanna

    I paid the $15 but still have the ads when I turn on my kindle. Now what do I do?