If you had to choose one website that you could keep with you 24/7 (except of course Zath!) then one of the most popular answers would most definitely be Wikipedia — the answer to pretty much every question ever asked.
So OpenMoko have taken the initiative and released the WikiReader which will make the complete catalog of Wikipedia pages (over 3 million at the last count) available wherever you are whenever you are.
This is done via a pretty nice gadget which looks very similar to the Mintpass person media player that we saw earlier this week: it has a little black-and-white square touchscreen, three buttons and pretty much nothing else. For the record those three buttons are ‘search’, ‘history’ and ‘random’ all of which allow easy access to the three principle functions of Wikipedia.
The touchscreen is very easy to use, and the simple layout is designed to give you the information you want quickly and concisely — unfortunately there are no pictures included (for obvious copyright reasons) which does somewhat reduce the useful of certain articles but doesn’t really impact too much on the vast majority.
Coming in at $99 it is also pretty good value, and will make a great Christmas present if it manages to make it across the Atlantic to the UK, and could serve to replace the family encyclopedia in the future if it takes off, and has a battery life that should last for quite a while (although exact figures are, as of yet, unavailable) on its triple A batteries.
You would be forgiven for thinking that, nice as it is, it may be slightly redundant as not only do we all have mobile phones most of which have quick easy access to the internet but if you really want Wikipedia on the move you could download it onto your laptop, but I think that the offline availability and the portability will make it popular with many.
Likewise I think it will be popular with parents you want their children to have access to the vast database of information that is Wikipedia, but are worried of the host of problems that allowing them access to the internet will result in. Having said that the adult orientated material that the PR boast will then be unavailable to children is also mentioned on Wikipedia anyway, but at least the pictures won’t be there!
Finally we have the problem of updating: I have no idea how many new Wikipedia articles are added or edited every day but I can imagine that the number is quite high so your version could quickly become out of date. However this has been thought of and every quarter updates will be available either through a free direct download or via good ‘ol fashioned snail mail which will set you back $30 a year and will give you a microSD card which you can then put into the device.
So all in all a nice little gadget that serves a simple function and ultimately does it well — and for a low £60 odd price tag- and I can see it being popular (it is already available in the US) if/when it is released over here.
Via – Crunch Gear