People who pre-ordered the Kindle Fire HD the second Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ended his inspiring announcement speech last Thursday received a couple of potentially nasty shocks in the days that followed. As it turns out, part of the reason the tablets cost oh-so-little is because they sport lock-screen "Special Offer" ads -- and those ads can't be disabled, Amazon said Friday.
But Amazon quickly changed its tune after the Internet expressed its displeasure. Less than 24 hours after Amazon said the Kindle Fire HD's ads are mandatory, the company reached out to TechCrunch to say that its plans had changed; dissatisfied customers will indeed be able to abolish the Special Offers for a one-time $15 fee.
Amazon's statement said that "We know from our Kindle reader line that customers love our special offers and very few people choose to opt out." While the company sells both Special Offers and non-Special Offers versions of its Kindle e-readers, there's no indication that Amazon plans to do the same with the Kindle Fire HD. Instead, it seems as though the tablets will ship with advertising enabled and users will have to pay to opt-out of the "feature" once their gadgets are up and running.
Even if you spend the $15 to disable the ads, the new Kindle Fire tablets are priced very competitively. That's because Amazon approaches hardware from a very different angle than most manufacturers; at the Kindle Fire HD's launch event, CEO Jeff Bezos said that "We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices."