Re-inventing the monochrome TV
How succesful would it be to re-introduce the monochrome TV? As much as the e-book readers will be, said a Dutch newspaper (Trouw, Oct 24th) about the Nook eReader.
Sad that the same is even more true for the WikiReader, presented to the world in mid October by the Taiwanese “Openmoko”. The WikiReader is a device that does only one thing: Provide a downloaded copy of Wikipedia (in English), ready to read, no internet connection, no pictures. Rechargable battery lasting for months.
But who is supposed to buy this single purpose device for 99 bucks? You can get a mobile phone or a netbook for little more than twice as much – and use it not only for reading Wikipedia. And if you are out for a field trip to a desert or jungle for months it is unlikely that you will use your (daylight) time for reading an encyclopedia.
Openmoko thinks primarily about the elderly and children, according to its web site. But who is not online nowadys may also not be eager to read an encyclopedia on a tiny screen but prefers paper, the “real thing”.
If your child is too young to be trusted with online access to Wikipedia, would you give it an expensive device for 99 dollars? Anyway Wikipedia is an encylcopedia for adults or at least older pupils and not written peticularly for children.
The WikiReader is a nice idea, and ten years ago it would have been a success comparable to Microsoft Encarta. For 20 or 30 dollars, like the Bertelsmann Wikipedia in one volume, the whole thing would look a little different.