The Web’s favourite user-submitted and freely editable encyclopaedia has taken a bite out of the shiny metallic Apple, launching its first official iPhone App.
The non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees the processes of Wikipedia, announced that the iPhone App will be available to download at the iTunes store for free.
True to its roots, the new 1.6MB App has been kept open-source. However, ReadWriteWeb is critical of the new development, calling it just “a 'wrapper' for the mobile version of the Wikipedia site”, which can be viewed in the basic iPhone Safari browser itself.
“There are already a number of very good Wikipedia apps out there, including Taptu's Wapedia, Wikiamo and Wikipanion. 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,” Frederic Lardinois of RWW writes.
“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,” he adds.
Still, considering this is just the first attempt and Wikipedia’s tendency to improve as they go along, coupled with the fact that the app is open-source, we should see some changes in the coming months.