Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wikipedia Lauches Official iPhone App

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the popular Wikipedia, just released its first official iPhone application for Wikipedia. Wikipedia Mobile, which is available for free in the App Store now (iTunes link), gives users access to iPhone-formatted Wikipedia articles. The truth, however, is that this isn't a very good application and doesn't really go beyond anything the regular mobile Wikipedia website doesn't already do. Indeed, the app is basically just a wrapper for the mobile Wikipedia site.

There are already a number of very good Wikipedia apps out there, including Taptu's Wapedia (iTunes link), Wikiamo (iTunes link) and Wikipanion (iTunes link). The official Wikipedia app doesn't add anything new here. While other apps at least include features like the ability to easily browse tables of content for apps and include in-page searching or the ability to save posts for offline reading, the official Wikipedia app doesn't feature any of these functions. The only 'advanced' feature in the app is its ability to track your browsing history.

Of course, this is only a first attempt and we laud the Wikipedia Mobile team for releasing this app as an open-source application. However, the fact that the search field is populated with "::Home" when you first open up the app shows that the app still needs a lot of polish before it can compete with the 'unofficial' apps. For now, if you just want a lightweight way of accessing Wikipedia articles from your phone and you don't want to install an app, just use the official mobile site

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