M.G. Siegler at TechCrunch has some interesting tidbits on the tablet that Amazon.com is expected to announce at a media event on Wednesday. The most interesting news, other than the name of “Kindle Fire,” is that the tablet won’t ship with a built-in email client.
Assuming this is correct–and Siegler’s Amazon sources seem to be very good–it may be an interesting case of product differentiation through subtraction. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010, he clearly positioned the device as a PC alternative for a post-PC era. It’s hard to imagine a PC alternative without a good email client.
The Amazon tablet, however, isn’t vying for PC alternative honors. Amazon seems to view it much more as a way to facilitate consumptions of the stuff Amazon sells, especially books, videos, and music. It is fundamentally an entertainment device, not a productivity device. And it doesn’t really need email. (If you really want email, you can always download a client app, though you’ll probably have to get it from the Amazon App Store rather than Android Market, which probably won’t come with the tablet either.)
All of this is consistent with my notion that Amazon is interested in producing not an anti-iPad but an un-iPad. Amazon is one of the very few companies around with the heft and the smarts to, as they say in basketball, create its own shot against Apple. and the indications are mounting that this is just what Amazon intends to do.