One of the limitations of having the WiFi only model of the iPad, is the possibility that there will not be a hotspot everywhere you go, resulting in times where you have no connectivity at all. So, what happens if you and and your friends are arguing about a specific detail of whatever topic you’re on? Normally, you might jump on Wikipedia to look it up, but with no internet you’re out of luck.
Enter, AllofWiki Offline. This app comes from Canadian developer, Briliantish Software. Just as the name implies, this app gives you Wikipedia, offline, giving you the ability to look up any useless fact, any time you want.
It features a very simple UI, leaving most of your screen’s real estate for the actual content. You can adjust the font size, to make it easier to read. There is built in search, and you can bookmark any page you might want to revisit quickly, later. If you are connected to WiFi, you can tap the “Visit Live Version” button, and you will get the most current Wiki, opened up in Safari. For the most part, this is a great app, if you’re constantly searching Wikipedia for information. One feature I really like is the “Shuffle” button. When you tap this, it brings up random Wiki pages for you to read. Great, if you like to learn random facts about stuff.
I do have some negative points, though. Before you can start using this app, at all, you have to download about 5GB of information from their servers, in what they call a “data dump”. This is how you are able to view all of Wikipedia offline. It ia all stored in the internal memory of your iPad. If you have the cheapest, 16GB model, like I do, this is a little daunting, to say the least.
This 5GB download can take a few hours, depending on your WiFi connection. If you exit the app, your download pauses, so you cannot do anything else with your iPad, until the download is finished. (This is where jailbreaking and installing Backgrounder would come in handy!). My personal experience downloading the data dump, was frustrating. The app kept stopping the download and crashing, every 3 minutes, or so. Not sure if there was issues with their servers, at this time, or not. Gary, our fearless leader here at iPadinCanada.ca, downloaded the data dump just before I did, and he had no issues at all. The only other issue I had was the ocassionly crash when turning the iPad between landscape and portrait modes.
Check out a few screen shots. Just click to enlarge.
Overall, this app is just okay, for me. I’m not a hard core Wikipedia user, so maybe some one who is, would find more value in this. At a price tag of $9.99, this might be a hard sell, especially on the iPhone. Maybe if the developer offered a free “lite” version, that gives you a glimpse of what the app can do, it could become popluar.
AllofWiki Offline is available now, in the App Store, for iPad and iPhone, for $9.99.
Want to hear more about what iPad apps I like or don’t like? Follow me on Twitter: @rorypiper
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