It took a few hours for anyone to notice that the new Kindle Fire line-up was ad-supported, but once the word got out, it spread like wildfire. It turns out that all the new Fire models have ads on the lock screens. This is one reason that Amazon can offer them at such low prices. For some people these "Special Offers" were deal breakers, others couldn't understand what the fuss was all about.
Then things got even more confusing, as a tipster informed Engadget that users could opt-out of the Special Offers. And everyone was happy again. Except that when Engadget talked to Amazon for confirmation, they were told "Um, no, there's no way to opt-out. You have to take the Special Offers with your Fire." and once again a cloud of dismay covered the gadget world.
Apparently Amazon was surprised by the idea that their Special Offers would be an issue for some users. In light of all the bad press that aspect of their new hardware was garnering, they changed their business plan, and we're back to having a way to opt-out, according to TechCrunch. It'll cost you $15 but that's pretty small change to get rid of ads forever.
Amazon still won't sell an ad-free Fire to you directly; you have to get the tablet home, hold your unboxing ceremony and then pay $15 to exorcise the Offers from your device. Presumably Amazon hopes you'll see them, decide they aren't that bad, and decide to keep them.
In any case, choice is almost always better than no choice. If the Special Offers didn't bother you then you're probably bemused by all this sturm und drang over a few commercials. But for those of us who didn't like the idea of starting every morning by looking at a full screen ad (surely I'm not the only one who reaches for his tablet before he even gets out of bed) there is now a simple solution that doesn't require rooting the device or any other kind of hackery.
Smart move, Amazon.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.