Openmokos Project B is out, in fact it is since Tuesday. It is a WikiReader, a device you use to read Wikipedia articles on it. Looking at the reception of device, it's been overall mixed.

Technology enthusiasts were often sceptical, arguing that they would not need such a device, being able to read the Wikipedia everywhere on their smartphone—and of course they are right, they might not need it, but the question is whether tech enthusiasts are the targeted audience of this rather simple device.

Promotional image of the Openmoko WikiReader

In fact have to say that I don't think they are not, and thus I have to conclude that I am not the kind of guy this device is aimed at.

Nonetheless I like the device—on the one hand I always like highly integrated device, being a fan of mobile computing—but as much as I like those feature monsters, I like simplicity.

The WikiReader appeals to me, because it is so dead simple (well, if it is, I can't say yet, as I didn't order one yet—I will once it is available in Europe). Now what do I like about this device? First of all, I like the design, which I'd call beautiful—if the build quality is reasonable, this device appears to be charming. I like the fact that the device uses microSD as storage—there is no USB connector, just the microSD—so upgrades will be a matter of being able to cut and paste. AAA batteries seem to be a good choice to me as well, as the device has to be very power efficient—they state that it might last for a year on these, figuring a 15 minutes daily usage. This is great, because today's feature monsters always need the wall charger when you need them to look something up.

And last but not least: I love the fact that the device has no wireless connectivity.

Let me try to explain why: Let's start with my T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream), which is a device certainly much more capable than this little WikiReader. But even though I love it's connectivity options, I have to state that from time to time they really annoy me, exspecially since I have been using FBReaderJ to read some ebooks grabbed at feedbooks—always when I happen to read a really thrilling part of a novel, someone happens to call me, or the LED starts blinking because I got some new mail. Or, what might happen as well, I might get distracted by feeling urged to write a mail, Google this or that ...

Besides of receiving phone calls, interruptions like this won't happen using a simple device like the WikiReader—but you can switch your phone off (I could as well… ;) ).

I could go on like this for ages, pointing out that I like the advertising and the design of the WikiReader website—but I don't think that this would be worth reading.

And by the way: According to WikiReaders twitter account, Amazon is already sold out of WikiReaders—assuming they had more than, say 20 in stock, this sounds like the beginning of a good story.

Being sold and developed by a company which has the word “open” in its name, you can grab the sources here.