Amazon says it will offer its Prime members exclusive discounts on unlocked Android smartphones, starting with the new Motorola Moto G and BLU R1 HD, using an ad-supported strategy similar to the company’s approach with its own Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
The smartphone discounts will be supported by personalized offers and ads on the lock screen. Users can tap to find out more about the advertised products or access their phones to dismiss the ads. Amazon uses the ad revenue to offset the cost of the discounts.
The ad-supported BLU R1 HD 8 GB will be available for $49.99 to Prime members, which is $50 off its retail price of $99.99. The fourth-generation Moto G 16GB will be available for $149.99, compared with its standard price of $199.99, but under a limited-time promotion, the Moto G will be available for an additional $25 off, reducing the price temporarily to $124.99. The phones are also available with more storage at similar discounts.
Amazon will offer the phones unlocked, allowing users to connect them with the wireless carrier of their choice. The Moto G works across all major carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The BLU R1 HD works on AT&T and T-Mobile.
The phones will use a single sign-on based on the Prime member’s existing Amazon account, with quick access to Amazon apps pre-installed on the phone. The phones will also offer a selection of personalized daily deals via a new Android widget.
The initiative is a new effort by Amazon to beef up the benefits of its Prime membership program, which costs $99 a year or $10.99 a month. In addition to the core benefit of free two-day shipping, the subscription service offers free two-hour Prime Now delivery, the Prime Music streaming service, Prime Video streaming, the ability to borrow e-books through the Kindle Lending Library, and other benefits.
Amazon says the new phones will be available starting July 12, with pre-orders starting today.