Starting February 7, Amazon will be removing ads from the lockscreens of its Prime Exclusive smartphones. The program previously offered Prime members access to significantly discounted phones with the catch being that buyers would have to put up with ads on the lockscreen and some Amazon bloatware pre-installed on the phone.
The retailer recently notified customers via email that it would be removing the ads starting tomorrow.
“Starting tomorrow, Feb. 7, 2018, Prime Exclusive Phones will be available to customers without lockscreen offers and ads. As smartphone technology has evolved, we also want to evolve the Prime Exclusive Phone experience to ensure customers can easily use features such as the phone’s mobile unlock technologies like facial recognition and fingerprint sensors, as well as be able to personalize device lockscreens with photos or wallpapers. Customers who currently use a Prime Exclusive Phone will receive a free update starting this week with this change, which will remove the lockscreen offers and ads.”
Apparently, the bloatware will remain but can be uninstalled or hidden if you don’t use it.
Amazon claims it is making the changes so users can take advantage of the newer lockscreen technologies such as FaceID. However, Ars Technica suggests the move has more to do with a policy change from Google than anything else.
Back in December, the search giant updated its Google Play Developer Policy regarding lockscreens. The new rule, labeled “Lockscreen Monetization” reads, “Unless the exclusive purpose of the app is that of a lockscreen, apps may not introduce ads or features that monetize the locked display of a device.”
Amazon Prime phones could be exempt from this policy since customers agree to the ads for a lower-priced device and they had the option of paying to turn them off. In any case, once the Amazon Offers app is updated, it will be a moot point.
It is not all rainbows and roses though. What the email failed to mention was that the price for the Prime phones is getting bumped $20. This news is not that troubling since the devices will still have a significant discount but it was a bit shady for Amazon not to mention the price increase.
Customers that previously bought out of the lockscreen offers and ads will be provided refunds and can contact Amazon Customer Service for more information