Amazon launched a handful of new Kindle Fire tablets last week. They’re pretty affordable, with a 9″ model available for as little as $299 and a pair of 7″ offerings at $199 and $159. The tablets might end up costing users a little more in the long run, though.
The custom OS on the Kindle Fire displays “Special Offers” advertisements on the standby screen, much like some of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers. While consumers have the option of buying ad-supported Kindles at a discount, the Fire’s ads are enabled by default. For a few days, it looked like there would be no way to disable the ads. Now, however, The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Amazon will allow folks to opt-out of Kindle Fire ads if they shell out an additional $15.
There’s another hidden cost, too. Fudzilla noticed that the new Kindle Fire tablets ship without traditional wall chargers. Although all of the Fire models come with charging cables capable of drawing power from USB ports, not even the $499-599 4G versions are equipped to deal with wall sockets. Amazon’s recommended PowerFast wall charger costs $20.
Much has been made of the low sticker prices of the new Kindle Fire tablets, but they clearly don’t tell the whole story. You’ll definitely want the wall charger, and I suspect a lot of folks will choose to do away with the extra ads for $15. For what it’s worth, Google’s $199 Nexus 7 tablet lacks additional advertising and comes with its own wall charger by default.