Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) made quite a splash Thursday when it announced three new Kindle Fire HD tablets (including a $499 4G LTE version) that would hit the market next week. But as the techies and tech media people who were present at the launch event get past the hype of the flashy new Kindles and see how they work, they notice not just significant upgrades, but they also see a major difference in the display.
Special Offers. Everywhere. No, these are not just the Special Offers that were part of the original Kindles, where users could opt out. These are the Special Offers that are on the Kindle Fire permanently – there is no opt-out option and on plans to have an ad-free version available, like Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) had with its original Kindle Fire (which cost a little bit more than the ad-supported version).
There was an earlier report that these new Kindles were going to have an opt-out option, but a spokesperson officially confirmed later that these Kindles were going to have the ad support – no matter what. That is something that irked a commenter, who lamented that he wound up getting a $79 Kindle last year but wound up paying more than the $99 Barnes & Noble ad-free Nook Simple Touch, because he paid Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) extra money to disable the Special Offer advertising.
This is just something to think about when a consumer goes shopping for a tablet computer – it’s likely the Kindle Fire HD by Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) may be similarly priced or lower than many competitors, but keep in mind – the Kindle Fire HD will be the only one (that we know of, so far) that will have advertising posted on its devices – likely as a subsidy for the lower price. Would you, as a consumer, be bothered by permanent advertising on a tablet that costs less than competitors but provides many of the same features you’d want?
How these Kindle Fire HD devices will play out will be an interesting development for Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the weeks to come, considering that they will have a least a week’s head start on the iPad from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and several weeks on the Surface from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and the Nexus 7 by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG).