How often do you access Wikipedia? How often have you wished you could access that information goldmine but couldn’t because you were away from your computer and Internet connection? If the answer to both questions is “All the freakin’ time!” you’ll want to check out the WikiReader.
This wickedly simple device puts 3 million Wikipedia articles at your fingertips wherever you happen to be. While some would argue you can already do that with any smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection, you won’t get your answers anywhere as fast as the WikiReader can deliver them. That’s because a massive chunk of the Wikipedia is stored on a removable 8GB MicroSD card inside the device itself.
The WikiReader powers up in less than three seconds and delivers results even faster. It runs on two AA batteries, which the manufacturer (Openmoko) claims will power the gadget for a full year (based on 15 minutes of use each day). The device automatically powers itself off after two minutes of inactivity. Openmoko puts disposable alkaline batteries in the box, but environmentally conscious folk can replace these with the rechargeable variety.
Open source Gurus, rejoice! OpenMoko has launched the Linux based FreeRunner mobile phone today through OpenMoko's web-based store and will begin shipping it July 7. This new phone utilizes GNU/Linux and comes with core software needed for dialing, SMS and recording contacts. It will supplement these features with periodic downloads. Two versions of the phone will be available: 850MHz or 900 MHz Tri-band GSM to match frequencies in different countries. Black, oval-shaped and weighing 6.5 ounces, it also features a 2.8" 480 x 640 VGA touch screen, Wi-Fi (802.1 1b/g), AGPS, GPRS 2.5G, Bluetooth 2.0, two 3-axis motion sensors and comes with 128MB WSDRAM and 256MB NAND Flash.
Using the Openmoko mobile platform, the Free and Open Source Software community and create unique versions of the FreeRunner phone, modifying the way the phone operates and even the way it looks. They have opened the CAD files under a Creative Commons license to make it easy for industrial designers to change the appearance of the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner and select alternate materials and finishes to tailor the phone's look and feel. The phone’s odd ovoid shape really does not appeal to me and I can imagine might be the first thing to go. Considering it’s somewhat limited specs compared to other phones available today, it looks set to only be a real draw for those into open source software.