The new WikiReader is a $99 portable device from the Openmoko group that stuffs every Wikipedia article into a pocket-friendly traveling companion. While those of us entrenched in technology day in and day out may scoff at the idea of having Wikipedia at the ready (we all have smartphones, remember?), this is something that might be able to make some waves with baby boomers and/or the technically petrified.
I’ll have a hands-on/review this week [UPDATE: see below] but the basic gist is that the unit uses two AAA batteries, a low-power CPU and monochrome touchscreen, and standard microSD cards to house all the articles. It’s not a connected device, either. Everything’s completely offline.
Video: Quick Look at the WikiReader
Updated microSD cards can be sent out via snail mail every few months for a yearly fee of $29 or the entire multi-gigabyte file (specially compressed for the WikiReader) can be downloaded and installed manually for the more technically-inclined.
Photos aren’t shown on the device, unfortunately, but the easy-to-use interface, months-long battery life, and straightforward updating process ought to entice certain consumers interested in all the information that Wikipedia provides without the hassle of full-fledged computers or complicated mobile devices.
The WikiReader will be available shortly on Amazon.com or directly from theWikiReader.com — the official company site.