Every time I visit my grandmother, she always bombards me with questions about what different things are. Every day, she’ll see something on TV or hear something, but not know what it is exactly. For things that peak her curiosity, she’ll jot them down in a note pad and ask the next person that walks thru her door. For example, I stopped by her house about a month ago to do her taxes for her. As soon as I got there, out came her note pad and the questions began. I like to believe that I’m a fairly smart guy. But, she did have a few things on her list that really stumped me. Lucky for me, I had my kick-ass Motorola Droid Razr smartphone which I pulled out, hopped on the local 4G network, and Googled the remained of her questions. Even though my grandmother has a computer, she doesn’t know how or want to learn how to use it for gathering information on something. She also has a cellphone, but it doesn’t have a data plan. So, I felt like she needed an alternative for getting answers no matter where she was. That’s when I came across the Wikireader by Pandigital.
I’ve purchased other Pandigital products before and have been extremely pleased with all of them (see my article about the Pandigital eReader / tablet here). The Pandigital Wikireader is a small palm-sized device (4.7in X 1.2in X 4.9in at 12.8oz) that contains the entire English Wikipedia which covers over 3 millions topics. That’s equivalent to more than 1000 volumes. It does not require an internet connection. Instead, it comes preloaded and ready to use right out of the box. It has an easy to use touchscreen for searching and navigating. it also includes 3 buttons on the front that allow you to quickly jump to the search screen, topic history, or to jump to any random topic.
The Wikireader device runs on 2 AAA batteries (included) which they claim will last approximately 1 year. It contains a 4GB microSD card which stores the Wikipedia information. The content can be updated quarterly for free by downloading the new content and saving it to the included microSD card or onto any microSD card of your choosing. I haven’t looked at what the content of the microSD card looks like yet, but I will. If the content is in a decent accessible format, I’d like to copy it to my computer for use with some of my artificial intelligence / machine learning projects.
Overall, the device is pretty cool and extremely easy to use. The only downside I see so far to this device is that the screen is kind of hard to read, especially in low-light areas. The Wikireader device does not include a backlight. If it did, this thing would be a whole lot cooler than what it is currently. But, I still believe that this device will work out great for my grandmother. Being as small as it is, she can easily throw it in her purse and have her information on-the-go. I think that this will allow her to get answers to her questions no matter where she’s at or who is around.
If you’re interested in the Pandigital Wikireader, you can pick one up from Amazon using the link below for about $30.00 As of the time I’m writing this article, you can get this little guy at best price for less than $20.00 and with free super saving shipping. Personally, I think I’m going to pick up a few more of these guys to use as stocking stuffers at Christmas.