Amazon has begun offering Prime members deep discounts on unlocked Android smartphones that have Amazon apps pre-installed and ‘special offer’ ads displayed on their lock screen, like you find on Kindles and Fire tablets. The program is kicking off with two upcoming phones, the new 4th-gen Moto G for $149.99, discounted $50 off its retail price of $200, and the BLU R1 for $49.99, discounted $50 off its retail price of $100. Both phones are available for pre-order now and will be released on July 12th. This is the first time Amazon has ever subsidized the price of hardware that isn’t their own.
There is currently a limited-time promo on the Moto G that takes an additional $25 off, making it just $124.99. The extra discount is applied automatically at checkout and will be available while supplies last.
The ads seen on the lock screen of these phones will appear in two flavors. The first are full screen ads that you swipe away to unlock the device, like you may be familiar with if you’ve ever used one of Amazon’s Fire tablets with special offers. The other ad format is new and comes in the form of lock screen notification messages. If you have a regular notification pending on the lock screen, there may be a notification ad that appears below the standard notification. You can swipe the notification ad to dismiss/clear it, or ignore it.
These phones will also come with Amazon apps, like Amazon Underground and Amazon Music, pre-installed. You will be able to hide these apps if you’d like, but you will not be able to uninstall them. The pre-installed Amazon apps are definitely the lesser of two evils when compared to pre-installed junk you find on carrier phones from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
These two phones from Motorola and BLU are the initial offerings for this new program and Amazon plans to partner with additional manufacturers in the future to offer more phones. If the format that we’re seeing with these two initial phones continues with future phones, you’re essentially trading lock screen ads and a small portion of your internal storage for a $50 discount. That’s a pretty good deal in my opinion, especially considering these two phones are sure to be prime targets for the modding community, which will inevitably figure out ways to remove the aforementioned ads and apps.