WikiReader Puts Wikipedia in Your Pocket, Forgets We're in 2009

Illustration for article titled WikiReader Puts Wikipedia in Your Pocket, Forgets Were in 2009


3 buttons, 3 million topics: Wikipedia in the palm of your hand. OpenMoko's $99 WikiReader arrives today, and could be useful for kids (or luddites), but it's an odd little gadget in a world of 3G smartphones.

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Illustration for article titled WikiReader Puts Wikipedia in Your Pocket, Forgets Were in 2009

The WikiReader isn't a connected device. Instead, Wikipedia comes on an SD card. You can pay $30 to have two updates sent out per year, or freely download a 4GB archive that's specially tailored to the WikiReader's screen. Speaking of which, the monochrome screen is touch-enabled and has a virtual keyboard for typed searches. It's not-backlit, but 2xAAA batteries can power the device for several months.

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The WikiReader also seems pretty well constructed. It has a scratch-resistant tempered glass screen, and a plastic case geared for durability. Fun fact: it was designed by Thomas Meyerhoffer, who used to work at Apple, helped design the Chumby, and makes surf boards that look like snowboards.

But here's the weirdest thing about the WikiReader: it can't display images, monochrome or otherwise. I get that they want to maximize battery life and keep the SD card updates manageable, but really? That screams fail. [Wikireader via DVICE]

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DISCUSSION

jj-skittles-old
JJ-Skittles

If the WikiReader were a store in a strip mall, I'd be convinced that it's one of those places where you know money is being laundered because there's not enough real business going on to stay afloat. It's not though - it's a device that cost somebody money to develop. Will they sell a single one?! If they sell more than a dozen, I'm shouting "LAUNDERING!!"