updated 10:35 am EDT, Wed July 13, 2011
ATT helps lower ad-backed Kindle 3G pricing
Amazon landed a potential coup for e-readers by getting a unique sponsorship deal for the Kindle 3G with Special Offers. The ad-sponsored e-reader now costs as much as an ad-free Wi-Fi version does, dropping down from $164 to $139. The ads will continue to surface only at the home screen or in screensavers, not in books.
The carrier sees it as an opportunity to push the advantages of its 3G network, which gives access to books beyond Wi-Fi hotspots.
Special Offers versions are already available immediately at the new price.
Its pricing could make the Kindle the cheapest 3G e-reader available in the US and is likely a hedge against a massing wave of Wi-Fi readers that cost as much or less than the Kindle, such as the new touchscreen Nook. Amazon's move also helps maintain an incentive for some to get an e-reader over a tablet as 3G no longer carries a significant price premium.
Amazon is known to be working on its own tablets but, in the meantime, has been courting the growing number of people who own both tablets and e-readers. A sufficiently low price has often been considered key to the Kindle serving as a complement for those with iPads or other tablets rather than a replacement.