So, I got a WikiReader. The first thing I would like to say is that this device is very very hard to open (and yes I did remove the two screws in the battery compartment ). I haven’t attempted a full disassembly yet as I actually like the main functionality, and didn’t want to completely obliterate the case just yet.
Here is the WikiReader, unpacked. I wasn’t expecting a nice box and manual (even the iPhone doesn’t come with that), but was very pleasantly surprised.
Apologizes for the very poor picture quality – these are simply iPhone snaps – I didn’t take the time to break out the 5D.
The two main complaints I have so far are the scrolling of text and the keyboard. The scrolling makes the text largely unreadable – there are some different display techniques here which could improve the display. The keyboard could also take a few cues from Apple, such as the magnified key presses, which would go a long way to improving usability. There are some other bugs in the contents (such as the lack of full UTF-8 support), but those are minor at this point.
Aside from those complaints, this device is actually quite slick. The performance is EXCELLENT. Random takes no more than a second to load the next article, search automatically filters based on your entry very quickly, and the history feature even remembers where you were in an article. The device is light and portable, and the whimsical asymmetric design is a nice touch and not over-done.
But enough with the quick mini review, what technical fun toys are there for you to play with?
Well, the WikiReader has a built in calculator – while powering up the device, hold the center (History) button.
There is also a factory test mode available – while powering up the device, hold either the Search or Random button:
As you likely (can’t) see in the image, the bulk of the functionality is a set of Forth applications, including the aforementioned calculator. They’re largely there for factory test, but at least one of them lets you draw pretty pictures.
Not drawn using the draw application, but another LCD test app – you don’t want to see my artwork
The WikiReader also contains a thermistor, which appears to be there for maintaining LCD contrast automatically:
Last but not least, there is a Console, which probably is exposed in the hidden programming/debug port available in the battery compartment (peel off the big white rectangular sticker – not the FCC/CE/Regulatory sticker).