Wikipedia’s website may have been dark yesterday in protest of SOPA, but now there is a new official Wikipedia app for Android devices. The free app is available in the Android Market for all Android smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 or above. Just like the Wikipedia site, the app requires a web connection, but it also allows articles to be saved for offline reading.
Android users could easily save a web bookmark for quick access to Wikipedia, but after just a few minutes of using the app, I know this software will be staying on my handset. A few key features are the reason:
- Using a phone’s integrated GPS, the app can search nearby locations for Wikipedia entries.
- A history of your Wikipedia searches. You can get this in a mobile browser, but it would be among the entire browsing history of the device.
- A “save page” button that enables offline reading of a Wikipedia entry (although in my testing, it seems to save every offline page twice).
- A one-button translation option that supports more than 40 languages.
Just like any Android app — or web page for that matter — you can also share a Wikipedia entry through Android’s native sharing features. You are not able to modify a Wikipedia page in the app, but for researching a topic or learning something new, Wikipedia’s new Android app might trump the mobile webpage.