Ads on the Lock Screen: A Worthwhile Trade-off for a Cheaper Phone?

July 1, 2016 •

Amazon Phones with Screen Ads

(Image via recode)

Would you be willing to deal with pre-installed apps and some ads on your lock screen in exchange for a cheaper phone? This is the deal that Amazon has announced for Prime members looking to save a bit of cash.

At the current time, the deal applies to two smartphones that are coming to the U.S. market on July 12. The phones are unlocked and can be taken to a number of carriers. The first option is the Motorola Moto G, which will sell without ads for $199.99 on Amazon and $149.99 with the ads. This version comes with a 1.5 GHz octa-core processor, two GB of RAM and expands up to 128 GB of storage. The two-camera phone features a 13 MP HD camera on the back and a 5 MP wide angle front-facing camera.

The second is the bargain-priced BLU R1 HD 8 GB, which will sell for $49.99 with ads and $99.99 without. It features a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex processor with 8 GB Internal memory, expandable to 64 GB.

On both phones, the lock screen ads will function in a way that is very similar to ads on Amazon products like the Kindle. They will also appear below notifications that show up on your lock screen. So, if you get a Facebook or an email notification, you will also see an ad when you check it. The ads will be for Amazon and other marketers. Amazon has not yet released information on how much data they expect the ads to use. They say that no personal information about users will be shared with their third-party advertisers, but they will tell advertisers how many people click through the ad or make a purchase.

The phones will also have apps pre-installed. These apps can be removed from the home screen of your phone, but cannot be removed from the phone itself. Many Android experts believe that this negates one of the main benefits of buying an unlocked Android phone.

The new phones will not be released until next month, at which time reviewers will get their hands on them. The reviews of the app-containing phones and the impact of the ads will remain to be seen.