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14 October 2009, 14:55

Wikipedia in your pocket with WikiReader

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Zoom The WikiReader from Openmoko.
Sean Moss-Pultz, the man behind the open source OpenMoko mobile phone, has unveiled his latest project. The WikiReader includes an offline version of the entire English language Wikipedia encyclopaedia on a small touch screen device with a removable MicroSD memory card, at a price of $99. So far, the WikiReader website has made no mention of the new gadget's operating system. However, Linux is the most likely contender.

The three button device is powered by two AAA batteries which the WikiReader site says will last for "about 12 months". Updates to the on-board content will be available two ways - as a free 4 GB+ download or via a subscription. Users that opt for the subscription, which costs $29 per year plus taxes and shipping, will receive two updates per year in the form of new memory cards.

While the "Wikipedia in your pocket" concept does sound attractive, it's questionable whether the WikiReader will be commercially successful. For instance, most users will probably not want to carry another, exclusively reference-related, device in addition to a mobile phone. Furthermore, smartphones and gadgets like Apple's iPod Touch offer the same functionality, as well as several other additional features. At only just below the $100 mark, the WikiReader is also comparatively expensive. The WikiReader can be ordered from the projects web site.

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