If you’re a cheapskate when it comes to purchasing a new smartphone, Amazon is doing its best to revive the Fire Phone without actually manufacturing its own hardware (which was a disastrous endeavor). The online retail giant has initially partnered with two hardware OEM to subsidize the cost of brand new Android smartphone in exchange for some Amazon-specific “enhancements”.
The subsidized pricing comes in the form of a Special Offers-like program that puts ads for Amazon products and services on the device’s lock screen. You can opt to click on the offers to see if they’re to your liking or immediately swipe them away into the digital abyss. However, you can choose how frequently they appear or how many appear at a time.
But that’s not all, Amazon also installs some of its shopping apps on the home screen, including the main Amazon shopping portal, Amazon Video, Amazon Kindle, Audile, Prime Now and Amazon Music. Luckily these apps can be remove from the home screen, but they still take up space on your device — that’s bloatware in our books.
Amazon is kicking things off with two smartphones: the Motorola Moto G4 and the BLU R1 HD. The Moto G4 comes with a Snapdragon 617 SoC and 2GB RAM, 5.5-inch 1080p display, 16GB or 32GB of storage, and a 3000 mAh battery. The BLU R1 HD features a 5-inch HD display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor along 1GB RAM/8GB storage or 2GB RAM/16GB storage options.
To take advantage of this new subsidization program, you’ll have to be an Amazon Prime member, which itself costs $99 a year. With that requirement out the way, the Moto G4’s discounted price falls to $149.99 (from $199.99) while the BLU R1 HD is slashed by half from $99.99 to $49.99.
Both Android phone are available now for pre-order and will ship on July 12th. But if you ask us, this isn't exactly a winning deal. For starters, you have to be a Prime member to “qualify” for the program. Retailers like Best Buy and B&H Photo are already offer the Moto G4 for $199, and include a free $50 gift card, making the effective price $149 -- the same as Amazon’s discounted offer. But in the case of the smartphones bought from those two retailers, you’re receiving an unmolested device without any strings attached.