Back in 2009, while on a plane (before WiFi was available) I wanted to look something up on Wikipedia. This got me thinking... I had a Chinese language dictionary, why couldn’t I have a Wikipedia dictionary?
When I got back to the office, I told the team we needed to make the internet without the internet.
This become Wikireader — million interconnected articles in a completely offline, handheld package. It was discovery, investigation, entertainment, and inspiration all rolled into one.
Why Take Wikipedia Offline?
Because how can knowledge equal freedom if people need an internet connection to get it?
People don’t go to Wikipedia because they want to be on the Internet; they go there because they want to find answers and discover new questions. Of course, the best answers are never ends in themselves. They raise our curiosity and lead us down new avenues. They don’t stop conversations but, rather, sustain them.
Similarly, each WikiReader experience is the beginning of something new. With more than three million interconnected articles in a completely offline, handheld package, the WikiReader is discovery, investigation, entertainment, and inspiration all rolled into one.
In keeping with Wikipedia’s stated goal of:
“Providing a free encyclopedia to everyone on the planet.”
It has a touch screen that accommodates international keyboards, and uses widely available AAA batteries. And since the WikiReader never requires an Internet connection, it can deliver all of this to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Turning a WikiReader on is easy. Turning it off is a different story.
We killed WikiReader when we shutdown Openmoko. I still have a few left. I wish we could have made v2.0.