I’ve always been a little skeptical of Openmoko’s WikiReader. It’s a handheld device with a grayscale display that’s basically designed to do one thing: Provide offline access to Wikipedia. I guess the idea is that it’s like being able to carry around the most up to date Encyclopedia in your pocket, even if you don’t have internet access handy — which could be useful for educational purposes in rural areas or developing nations where broadband access may be hard to come by. But it’s still such a specific use that I’ve often wondered why the hardware doesn’t support other applications.
Well, now it does. Openmoko has released an update that lets you download not just the latest version of Wikipedia to the handheld device. You can also access the complete Project Gutenberg library of 33,000 eBooks.
Project Gutenberg has been digitizing public domain books since long before the Kindle was a gleam in, well… anyone’s eye. The collection includes thousands of titles in dozens of languages. If you want to store the entire text of Wikipedia and the entire Project Gutenberg library, you’ll need a 16GB memory card, but you can reportedly hold just the Gutenberg books on a 4GB SD card.
The WikiReader costs $99 and comes with 2 AAA batteries. Current users can download the latest update from thewikireader.com/update.
via The Gadgeteer