Openmoko has introduced the WikiReader, a palm-sized electronic device which contains text from more than three million English language Wikipedia articles.
The appeal of the device, which features a large monochrome screen and touch interface, is that it is simple to use and provides access to Wikipedia anywhere without requiring an Internet connection.
The creators say WikiReader turns on instantly, and works for months before replacement of its two AAA batteries is necessary. Articles are scrolled with a stroke of the finger and hyperlinks selected with a simple tap. Three buttons, Search, History and Random, offer the convenience of reading specific topics or the pleasure of discovering something by chance within Wikipedia's rich array of articles ranging.
WikiReader was designed by Thomas Meyerhoffer, a former Apple designer: “The key is keeping it simple. We really want the focus to be on the experience of reading Wikipedia, not browsing the Web. That’s why we only have three buttons. There really is no interface. You’re just straight into the content.”
Meyerhoffer, continues, “Because it’s offline and offers parental controls, the whole experience happens within the device. That’s especially great when it comes to kids. I can give this to my nine-year-old, and I know he’s only going to get content that is fine for him to read.”
The WikiReader is available from Amazon for $99 USD. Updates for the WikiReader are provided quarterly and available for free download via the company's website. A yearly subscription plan for updated microSD cards is also available for $29.
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