Updated with iPhone friendly video from WMExperts (irony!).
Would you watch un-skippable ads on your mobile device in exchange for free apps and games? That's the question we're pondering in light of Zune HD doing just that. You pay your hundreds of dollars for the device, and Microsoft provides a few extra games/apps, but sometimes an ad will play before the app launches, and you can't skip them. See the video above for an example (apologies to those on the iPhone, we didn't make the video, so have no control over the iPhone-unfriendly format).
We first heard about this from Matt Miller, editor of NokiaExperts.com and last night during iPhone Live! We discussed it with special guest, Phil Nickinson of WMExperts. At first Phil said he'd never seen one, but then lo and behold, right there live, one of those Kia car commercials began to play when he tried to launch and app.
Of course, watching commercials in exchange for free content is how broadcast TV works, but does that model translate to mobile devices?
Personally, I'm okay with it as long as I know about it up front and I have the option of paying something to get a commercial-free version in case my time (and, frankly, tolerance for seeing the same commercials over and over every time I launch an app) is worth more to me than a few dollars.
iPhone apps, since the beginning with Twitterrific have provided free (ad supported) and paid (no ads) versions, though even then the ads were far less intrusive than full screen video, un-skippable TV style commercials.
What do you think? More free apps the better, or can commercial monetization go too far? And is it more acceptable to put a commercial before a game than it would be, say, to put it before something more vital like the music player, web browser, or email client?