From the moment they were revealed, Amazon has been calling the new Kindle Fire models a service. The tablet is an impressive piece of hardware, for sure, but it's more than that for Amazon. It's a way for the retailer to personally connect with its user base. To that end, ads will be displayed on the Kindle Fire HD's lock screen.
It was those very same ads that had users up in arms last week after the news was revealed. Why should they have to view ads when they already spent $199 on a tablet? Amazon was quick to point out that the ads in question would only be for special promotions and sales through Amazon. It's not like they're interrupting the user experience like so many Web sites do today. So what's the big deal?
People feel entitled to an ad-free experience when they buy a piece of hardware. It's understandable, and Amazon will be happy to oblige... for a price. The company told CNET on Saturday that users will be able to pay a small one-time fee of $15 to remove ads from the lock screen. They were, however, quick to point out that most users "love [their] special offers and very few people choose to opt out."
It should be noted that the ads you loathe so much are the real reason why Amazon is able to offer their tablets for such low prices. It goes back to Amazon saying the Kindle line is more of a service than hardware. You pay for a service, but it's still loaded with ads to offset the cost of said service. At least Amazon is offering consumers a choice. Other services, like television, don't offer much choice in this regard.
Amazon has been pioneering the idea of placing ads on the sleep and lock screens of their devices for a while now. It's still a huge area of untapped potential for advertisers. It will be interesting to see if Apple or Google start selling ad space on the iPad or Nexus 7 home screen. Advertisers would buy in to it, but would consumers be welcome to the idea?