With iPad Looming, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Push The Platform

After the hardware holiday battles, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and book-selling rival Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) are eager to remind users, potential buyers and analysts that they offer platforms in addition to e-readers. And they should be: the multi-tasking more versatile iPad may not appeal to everyone but it’s already siphoning attention away and dollars are sure to follow. The two already have their own following for software and hardware so are in better shape than those still trying to gain a foothold. Still, they need to come up with strong contenders for the iPad and the other next-gen tablets on the way, especially if they want to keep iPhone/iTouch users who add on the iPad.

Amazon’s approach: convince people it offers “the best reading experience available on your tablet computer including the iPad. No Kindle required.” A few days after launching its moderately in-your-face Kindle for Mac app, Amazon is already showing off its tablet approach via an official page. The current Kindle apps offers splashes of color. The tablet version embraces it, as much of it as we can see. Like the other Kindle apps, it’s limited to books but last page read, notes and highlights can sync across devices. (Those of us who subscribe to magazines, newspapers or blogs on Kindle can only access those version on the e-reader.) Readers will be able to switch between animated page mode and basic reading. When I asked Amazon if the Kindle iPad app had been approved yet, a spokesman replied: “We look forward to making Kindle for iPad available very soon. I