Amazon.com announced a new Kindle with Special Offers for $114, priced $25 less than the bestselling $139 Kindle but still above the magic $100 pricetag that analysts say will make the e-reader affordable to most consumers.
The $114 model is the same as the $139 Kindle, except customers will receive ads and sponsored screensavers to the device. It is available now for pre-order and will be shipped on May 3. Advertising and promotions of this kind have long been seen as a tradeoff for a lower hardware price in consumer wireless products.
Several analysts last year predicted that black and white e-readers, including the Kindle, would drop below $100 in price by now. Amazon seems to be beating a path in that direction, while some other competitors' devices add more features to their e-readers, such as color displays, while keeping roughly the same price.
"We're working hard to make sure that anyone who wants a Kindle can afford one," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The special offers could appear on screensavers or at the bottom of the homescreen. Buick, Olay, Visa and Amazon.com Reward Visa Card on Chase are the first sponsors. Amazon said that examples of the offers coming initially include $10 for a $20 Amazon.com gift card and a free $100 Amazon.com gift card when a customer gets an Amazon Rewards Visa Card.
Amazon seems confident that some potential customers will be attracted to its new advertising model. In addition to the new Kindle, the online retailer introduced a free Kindle app and website where customers will vote to choose the most attractive display advertisements that will later become Kindle screensavers. The app is called AdMash.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com .
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