Amazon Returns To Phone Business

By Victor Thomson , Jun 30, 2016 05:20 AM EDT

Amazon Inc. returns to the smartphone business with two cheap Android smartphones subsidized by Amazon ads.

According to Nasdaq, on Wednesday, June 29, Amazon introduced its first two Prime Exclusive phones. The Blu R1 HD produced by Blu Products Inc. comes with a starting price of $50 unlocked. The fourth-generation Moto G produced by the Lenovo Group Ltd. comes with a starting price of $150 unlocked. The Blu R1 HD has a price tag of $100 and up without Amazon's discount, while the Moto G has a price tag of $200 and up.

In order to buy a Prime Exclusive phone, as the name suggests, customers have to be a $11-a-month (or $100-a-year) subscriber to the Amazon Prime service. The subscription also give access to other perks, including unlimited streaming music, streaming TV shows and movies, photo storage, as well as guaranteed two-day shipping for physical products.

The subsidized Amazon ads will appear on the phones' lock screen, directing users to promos discounts and other offers. Besides the ads, for quicker access to its storefronts and services, Amazon is also loading these phones up with widgets and apps, music, video, shopping, audiobooks, cloud storage and more. For those users who get tired of looking at them, Amazon's apps can be disabled in settings and removed from the home screen of a phone, but they can't be deleted.

According to Wired, the Blu R1 HD is powered by a quad-core processor and comes with a 5-inch 720p display. In the basic configuration, at a price tag of $50, the phone features 1 GB of random-access memory, 8 GB of storage and an 8-megapixel camera. The Prime cost is $60 for a configuration including 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage.

The Moto G is powered by an eight-core Qualcomm processor and features a 5.5-inch 1080p display. The phone costs $150 for a configuration including 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM. You can get double that for a price of $180. 

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