The Best Wikipedia Companion Apps

The Best Wikipedia Companion Apps

Jason Rodway
Jan 3, 2012

We consider Wikipedia as a testament and example of the internet's greatest strength, a vast well of knowledge for nearly every topic under the sun. Who hasn't used it at least once as reference or resource? However, when accessed through native phone (and tablet) browsers, the Wikipedia is less than ideal, as it's not optimized for smaller mobile screens. Fortunately, there are a few mobile solutions which help streamline and add to the Wikipedia experience...

Left: Wikipanion - Right: All of Wiki - Offline
iOS Wikipanion - iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad A personal favourite of mine since it was one of the first apps downloaded for my own iPad. Available for all iOS devices big and small, Wikipanion makes browsing and searching through Wikipedia articles easy without being clunky or obtrusive. The best part is the UI on the iPad version, similar to the Twitter and Mail apps, with a smart Table of Contents tab highlighting your location while browsing any entry. Streamlined and loads quickly, making it an excellent reference resource. Free - Ad-Free: $5

All of Wiki - Offline
A library's worth of knowledge lies within Wikipedia, and now you can access it even while offline. A download package of 4GB (for all articles in English, 2GB additional per language) is all it takes to travel with all the information that Wikipedia has to offer. All of Wikipedia's data and pictures is efficiently bundled into that package and regular monthly expansions can be downloaded to keep the database up to date. Not everyone has a data connection to their iPads or Touch's and this is a worthy alternative to the constant data charges. $9

Left: WikiMobile Encyclopedia 2 - Right: WikiDroid
Android WikiMobile Encyclopedia 2 The follow-up to the award winning Android app is a strong one with multi-media and Twitter expanded capabilities. Play YouTube videos related to entries or look up related Google Images or Tweets to expand beyond Wikipedia into the internet at large. The interface follows a minimal style and articles are easy to read making full use of the entire screen effectively. It expands greatly upon the tried and true original app with new features that are right at home. Free - Ad-Free: $4

WikiDroid stands out with several features such as voice search, full screen mode and article saving. The interface is well designed, with plenty of customizing options for reading. For those who are rigorously backtracking their research to the same pages have the option to save posts straight to Android devices for offline referencing. One function I personally am crazy about is the bookmarks and home screen shortcuts. Having favourite or relative material on hand is always helpful and has the secondary advantage of acting as a reminder. Free - Ad-Free: $2

Left: WikiPanda - Right: Wikipedia Reader
Windows Phone 7 WikiPanda Apart from having an adorable app icon, WikiPanda is a highly effective Wikipedia companion app that has social network sharing and an interface that prioritizes seamless browsing. The short time it takes to load articles and the recently viewed list help to make it an efficient app with an emphasis on productivity. But best of all is how it combines the Wikipedia experience and Windows Phone interface to make something absolutely unique. Swiping through the Table of Contents is enjoyable and takes a very small amount of time. Free

Wikipedia Reader
Last but not least , Wikipedia Reader is the WP7 app for offline Wikipedia browsing. Articles can be saved for later and even pinned to the home screen for easy to remember access. The UI is distinctive (and bright for those who love white) and appeals more to the lighthearted reader than the researcher, designed to be enjoyed by those who like to jump from topic to topic (although it does suffice for those looking for references and information as well). Free - Ad-Free - $2

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