WikiReader delivers the joy of information by offering three million Wikipedia articles in a simple $99 handheld device. It turns on instantly, and works for months before replacement of its two AAA batteries is necessary. The large monochrome screen uses a touch interface. 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 serendipitous pleasure of discovering something by chance within Wikipedia’s rich array of articles ranging from Freud to Final Fantasy. Updates for the WikiReader are provided quarterly and available for free download. A yearly subscription plan for updated microSD cards is also available for $29. For more information including news, videos and updates, Google for: The WikiReader
What the reviewers say
Got mine 5 days ago […] and have had some fun with it. However the fun was dampened by a defective touch screen. The bottom 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the screen doesn’t respond to touch, meaning I can’t access the bottom row of letters or the space bar. I contacted customer support and the were prompt in replying. They had me load a different kernel file, hoping that would fix it, but it didn’t. they said they will be shipping out a replacement soon, so hopefully this one will work as designed.
Aside from the touch screen, the co-workers I showed it to thought it was pretty slick.
My co-workers all carry Blackberrys, but due to corporate policy can’t install wikipedia software. I don’t have a smart phone, due to no Verizon service where I live, so this works great for me. I like the fact that it uses standard AAA batteries and will run for 90 hours of powered on time.
It also has a couple of hidden features when you hold down a button while powering up. Search throws you a list of forth programs that are mostly diagnostics. There is a little line drawing program that is fun to scribble with, and also a calculator. The calculator can also be accessed by holding down the history button while powering up. Finally, the random button on power up is some sort of serial communication screen. One other thing, one of the diagnostics displays a reading from a thermistor, so I suppose someone could create a tiny app using that as well.
In the short time that I have had it, I noticed a couple of small issues with the data on it. It looks like it is missing some numeric info. The example I noticed was the wikipedia article on prairie dogs as to their size and quantities. Also some special characters, like foreign letters, are not displayed correctly. I am pretty sure they will correct that down the road though, as it should not be too tough to do.
An 8gb microSD card holds the data and system. It looks like buying the updates might not be a bad idea as 8gb SD cards go for around $20 each anyway, and the $[…] update charge will get you two of those. Not bad to have a spare and you can always clear an extra and use it in another device.
Update. Got the replacement Wikireader, and it works as it is supposed to now. It can’t help but make me better informed.
I would love to see them add some e-reader functionality. There would be plenty of room to add a pile of Project Gutenberg reading material.
I may end up getting a couple more of the for Christmas presents.
More Product Details
More product information: WikiReader Pocket Wikipedia