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Amazon Unveils Kindle for iPad

Apple’s much-touted iPad won’t even start getting into consumer’s hands until April 3, but already online mega-retailer Amazon.com is looking to get out in front of Apple’s own built-in iBooks bookstore, announcing its Kindle application for iPad. According to Amazong, the Kindle app for iPad will be able to use Amazon’s WhisperSync technology to synchronize bookmarks in books across other Kindle platforms—including Kindle devices as well as iPhones, BlackBerries, Macs, and PCs—and enable users to shop for more than 450,000 books in the Kindle Store. And, like other mobile and PC versions of Kindle, the app will be available for free.

Although Amazon hasn’t announced when the iPad app will be available, industry watchers expect Amazon will want to have it available for download as close as possible to the iPad’s U.S. retail availability on April 3—that means the Kindle app and Kindle Store would be going up against Apple’s own iBooks and iBookstore app right out of the gate. Initially, iPads will not be shipping with Apple’s iBooks: just like the Kindle app, users will have to download it from the App Store if they want it. Barnes & Noble isn’t expected to sit this one out either: it’s expected to have its own eReader application available for the iPad close to the April 3 release date.

While Amazon’s announcement of Kindle for the iPad is product specific, the company also mentions it will be producing Kindle apps for “tablet computers, including the iPad.” Amazon has always said it intends to take Kindle to a number of platforms in order to expand the ecosystem; the most likely candidates for future Kindle apps include Android, which will be the basis of Dell’s eventually-forthcoming “Streak” tablet.