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Amazon to drop lock screen ads from their Prime Exclusive phones

Image: Amazon (with edits). Prices may not be reflective of Amazon's new policies.
Image: Amazon (with edits). Prices may not be reflective of Amazon's new policies.
Phones sold through Amazon's Prime Exclusive Phone program will no longer display lock screen ads, according to the retailer. The phones, which which were sold at prices substantially lower than MSRP, will instead feature Amazon-centric apps only while retaining (most of) their discounts.

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For the past few years, Android users looking to get a budget- or mid-range phone at a discount would often turn to Amazon’s Prime Exclusive Phone program. The initiative, which was open only to Amazon Prime members, offered a small selection of phones from OEMs like LG and Motorola at a fairly substantial discount. The only catch - the phones came with non-removable lock screen ads touting Amazon products and services as well as pre-installed Amazon apps. However, these lock screen ads will soon be a thing of the past. Amazon announced today that they will be dropping lock screen ads from their Prime Exclusive phones.

Any phones that are purchased on or after February 7th through Amazon’s Prime Exclusive program will no longer feature the ads, which would appear as either a notification or lock screen wallpaper (in the absence of any other notifications). Amazon said that this was to speed up various authentication methods (like fingerprint and facial recognition scanners) that are beginning to trickle down to even the lower end of the smartphone market. Other customers that currently use a Prime Exclusive phone will receive an update “starting this week” that will remove the ads.

Previously, the only authorized method of removing the lock screen ads was paying Amazon a fee to receive a code or update that would remove them. This fee was typically the amount of the discount a consumer received when purchasing the phone. While the lock screen ads were often seen as a minor annoyance, many consumers thought the discount was worth the marketing bombardment they would receive when unlocking their phone. Of course, there are other methods of removing the lock screen ads that are not supported by Amazon.

Interested consumers should note that Amazon won’t be offering the phones at the same low prices, though. Amazon later confirmed that there would be a $20 bump in price for these devices, which still puts them at a pretty steep discount. The phones will also continue to come with Amazon apps pre-installed by default, and Brad Linder of Liliputing confirmed that the bootloader of any new devices will remain locked. There is no word, however, on any kind of discount or refund to people that paid to have the ads removed.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 02 > Amazon to drop lock screen ads from their Prime Exclusive phones
Sam Medley, 2018-02- 6 (Update: 2018-02- 6)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.