Openmoko announced today that during this holiday season, for each WikiReader sold, they will donate a WikiReader to Rural Education and Development (READ) Global – a non-profit organization. They pledge to reach each and every one of READ’s library and resource centers in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
WikiReader contains the more than three million English language articles of Wikipedia on an easy-to-use battery-powered device to be enjoyed immediately anytime, anywhere without requiring an Internet connection, making it ideal for information-hungry students and villagers in communities where electricity and connectivity may be inconsistent or non-existent.
READ Centers will offer the WikiReader in its Community Library and Resource Centers, enabling villagers to discover a world of information previously unknown. Each center is partnered with a community initiated and managed for-profit business enterprise that generates income to cover the expenses of the READ Center, enabling enterprising villagers to earn a living while supporting the READ Center.
In 2006, READ Nepal received the prestigious Access to Learning Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which subsequently awarded READ Global a four-year replication grant to expand the organization’s unique model around the world. The donation of WikiReader leaves READ Global with only $51,000 needed from supporters to meet the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation challenge grant, and receive their 2010 installment to open a new program in Cambodia.
“Openmoko’s WikiReader is very useful for the libraries, in part because it does not depend on the internet, it is like having handheld copies of the encyclopedia, and is easy to use,” said Rural Education and Development Global Founder, Dr. Antonia Neubauer. “Not only will this be a wonderful resource for the students, but for their teachers, who often do not have resource materials.”
“READ Global has provided our customers with a wonderful opportunity to help make a difference. We’re so excited to bring Wikipedia into the lives of children and adults who share a common love of learning and a passionate desire to make the world known.” said Openmoko CEO, Sean Moss-Pultz. “WikiReader’s refreshing simplicity, contrasted with its unparalleled breadth of information, should provide plenty of inspiration for people of all ages.”
WikiReader turns on instantly, and works for months before replacement of its two AAA batteries is necessary. Articles on the large monochrome touchscreen are scrolled with a stroke of the finger and hyperlinks selected with a simple touch. Three buttons, Search, History and Random, offer the convenience of reading specific topics or the serendipitous pleasure of discovering something by chance within Wikipedia’s rich array of topics. Updates for the WikiReader are provided quarterly and available for free download via their website. A yearly subscription plan for updated microSD cards is also available for $29. WikiReader is available for $99 at http://thewikireader.comAmazon.
Chief Blonde’s Remarks: Hard to imagine that much information in a little device that is just smidge larger than a pack of cards. A back light would be nice and typing is a little tricky at first, but truly this device is addictive. The more you use it,,the more you use it! Not really necessary when you have a computer around but great in your purse, playing games, doing crosswords, for trivia, etc. Super easy to use and navigate. Good for kids doing reports. I can see it would be extremely useful in the charitable situations mentioned in this article. No need to keep a large library of outdated encyclopedia around when you can just give each school or schoolroom this device which can be updated each year with a new card! A for my money, and my charitable donation, anything the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation participates in is GOLDEN in my mind. Highly recommend.
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