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Wikipedia is Just an App Away on Android
As technology keeps rapidly advancing, several innovative products are coming into the market every day. WikiMobile Encyclopedia, available for free in the Android Market, is a portable version of Wikipedia which essentially means the user can carry around the entire Wikipedia collection of pictures and articles numbering in the millions. As the application is not a product of Wikipedia themselves, and the website itself does support a quite elaborate mobile version, the real question here is whether or not this application is preferable over the official version.
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Usability and Features of WikiMobile Encyclopedia for Android
As the content of WikiMobile is purely taken from the Wikipedia catalog it is the overall usability, features and look of the application that needs to be focused on. Wikimobile Encyclopedia offers an intuitive and fast interface for scanning through Wikipedia. The application nicely takes the applicable articles from Wikipedia and reshapes and resizes them to fit the screen of your Android device. Whatever tool is used to accomplish this, it works. WikiMobile for Android is indeed a pleasant reading experience.
Instead of pursuing this beaten track, WikiMobile Encyclopedia provides an improved layout specially optimized for the Android phone. To get fully featured web pages to look so perfect on a small screen is an extraordinary effort deserving full praise. Added to this, the experience of reading a Wikipedia article on the Android phone is very convenient because of Wikimobiles' intuitive interface.
Apart from comfortable reading of the web pages, this novel method also offers acceleration in terms of getting required materials on screen. It also makes it easier for longer articles to be accommodated perfectly as a Table of Contents is available for the user to pick up the different subheadings from Wikipedia pages the user has visited. One more plus point is the presence of a Quick Facts option, facilitating the user to bookmark pages for revisiting. Images, if available, can be accessed separately, keeping the focus on easily readable content at all times. Other notable options include a homepage selection of Random Articles and the articles which are very popular appearing on Wikipedia.
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The Look of WikiMobile for Android and Minor Annoyances
Although WikiMobile for Android is a good resource for quick information, there are a few aspects that could still improve. First of all, the overall look of the application is a bit on the rough side, and essentially hasn't changed since it first appeared in the Android Market. Instead, little things were added to facilitate better article browsing, such as gesture support for swiping through an article. As this aspect of the application is now taken care of it would be a good time to address the look of the application, making it a more desirable application, matching the recent sleek look of the original Wikipedia website.
Some people also have an irrational objection to the presence of the little dog that is seen on the screen while loading pages. However the fact remains that once the user becomes familiar with the way WikiMobile Encyclopedia presents things, whatever uneasiness is there now, will gradually recede. Although there are very minor things that could distract a user from the content, good looks can greatly increase the user appreciation, especially in the case of an application that largely focusses on reading.
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WikiMobile Encyclopedia or Mobile Wikipedia?
Although there isn't much between them, WikiMobile will still win over the mobile version of the website. The application truly manages to make every article feel like it is native to the application, making WikiMobile Encyclopedia an excellent Wikipedia article reading tool for your Android device. Article optimisation for mobile is something that the mobile version of Wikipedia does as well but nothing beats a separate app over a mobile website that just isn't as easy to navigate around. If Wikimobile could just improve on its look just a slight bit and iron out the minor annoyances, it would be the perfect Wikipedia application on Android.