The first few hours after the Kindle Fire HD launch in Los Angeles were full of praise for the online retail giant and how it is changing the hardware industry, but once the dust settled – the no-so-good facts about the tablets started to emerge. I have two of them right now and they are big and are surely going to bug a lot of people in the United States.
Let’s talk about the first, yes it is the ads on the tablets (known as Special Offers in Amazon’s marketing language). It started with the Kindle e-readers last year and now, as expected Amazon has implemented Special Offers on Fire tablets as well but without any way to disable them (even for those who are ready to pay extra money for not wanting to see them on their beloved tablet). However with Kindle e-readers, consumers could actually pay $20 and get rid of ads whenever they wanted.
Unsurprisingly, Jeff Bezos skipped to mention this small detail in Amazon press conference the other day, now the confirmation is coming from an Amazon spokesperson that there is no way to disable ads on Kindle Fire HD tablets right now.
I do get that Amazon wants to make money, and it is certainly is not going to come from hardware sales at such low price-point, and it will have to adopt strategies like Special Offers on tablets to generate revenue. Personally, I may be fine with the ads, but not everyone is going to be, and if a consumer is ready to give money to get rid of these ads, at least give them a choice.
I am sure that in the days to come, Amazon will have to give such a mechanism because there is going to be a backlash and the company knows that unhappy consumers aren’t good for business. (Update: As expected, Amazon seems to decided to give consumers an option and they can pay $15 to opt out of ads. “With Kindle Fire HD there will be a special offers opt-out option for $15,” an Amazon spokesperson told Ars. It is currently not live on the product pages, but we hope to see it soon.
Coming to the second point, which I personally got to know just now that Bing is the default search engine on Kindle Fire HD tablets. Well, just to refresh your memory, Google was the default search engine on the original Kindle Fire.
This might be a big win for Microsoft, but is certainly a loss for a lot of consumers including me, who love to use Google for their daily search activities. Microsoft has also officially confirmed this detail and they are obviously happy about it. However, there is no word on whether we can manually change the default search engine in settings, but it is unlikely if Amazon has signed a deal with Microsoft, and consumers would have to manually open Google and use it if they want.
Amazon has come out with a potent product in the form of Kindle Fire HD, but not without issues like the ones mentioned above. The price-point and content availability is still going to govern many consumers’ buying decision.