One of the biggest reasons why US consumers still flock to carriers for their phones is because the upfront price is often too heavy to bear. Some OEMs have setup their own device installment plans in response but Amazon but a unique twist to that. With its Prime Exclusive phones, you pay a lower one-time fee in exchange for always seeing targeted ads on your lockscreen. Now UK phone maker Wileyfox is offering something similar in its new Add-X Range but with a unique twist of its own.
The basics of the new range is that you pay almost 40% less the full price of a Wileyfox Android phone but agree to see lockscreen ads on your device. Wileyfox its only handles showing what on the lock screen but offloads the actual shopping experience to its partner retailers. It promises not to collect and pass on any information, although it does require you to key in your birthdate and gender to personalize the ads.
Like Amazon Prime Exclusive, not all of Wileyfox’s products are included in the Add-X Range. As of this writing, only two phones are listed, the Swift 2 Plus and the Spark+, both part of its mid-range offering. Under Add-X, the Swift 2 Plus goes from 190 to 120 GBP ($254 to $161) and the Spark+ goes from 120 to 70 GBP ($161 to $94).
What Wileyfox is doing different from Amazon is that it allows buyers to opt out of the scheme. For a price, of course. If they throw 40 GBP ($54) at Wileyfox’s way, they will receive an update that will remove that “feature”. In effect, you will still be paying less than the full upfront price, so it remains to be seen how long before buyers try to game the system.
What makes this offer doubly interesting is the timing. This new Wileyfox Add-X range comes at a time when Google is starting to crack down on apps that put ads on the lockscreen. This already puts Amazon’s Prime Exclusive into question, so it’s curious that Wileyfox would be doing something similar now. Then again, it seems that Add-X is baked into the firmware instead of being an external app, which could bypass the Google Play Store requirement altogether.