(Ars Technica) -- Amazon has sold loads of cheap Kindles ever since it decided to introduce a WiFi-only model and drop the price to just $139.
Now, the company is taking its low-priced-Kindle initiative a step further by introducing on-screen ads to its lowest-price model, allowing the company to drop the price by another $25. The ad-supported Kindles will begin shipping on May 3.
Kindle director Jay Marine revealed the company's plans in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday afternoon.
"It was very important that we didn't interfere with the reading experience," Marine told the publication, noting that ads would display across the bottom of the screen and on the Kindle's screen saver, but not while the user was reading a Kindle book. "We think customers are going to love it."
Loving the new Kindle with Special Offers -- yes, that's the actual product name -- might be somewhat of a stretch for many users.
If the ads stay out of Kindle books and remain limited to the navigation screen and screen saver, they will at least be unobtrusive, and users might be OK with that.
However, the device will still cost $114; the $25 savings may not be enough to convince some cheapskates. (Call us when the ad-supported Kindle costs $50, and we may be more impressed.)
So, loving it might be hard, but liking it is a remote possibility.
On the upside, Amazon doesn't look like it's replacing the previous ad-free version of the WiFi-only Kindle. According to a new ad on the front page of its website, Amazon offers three options: the Special Offers Kindle for $114, WiFi-only Kindle for $139, and the 3G Kindle for $189.
The company also said it's introducing an app called AdMash that will allow customers to help choose future (ad-related) screensavers, and that users will be able to specify their screen saver preferences so they only see the images they like the most.
These elements combined make the Kindle with Special Offers a little easier to swallow, but we're glad the option is still there to fork over an extra $25 for an advertising-free e-book reader.
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