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7/9/2009
05:00 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Wikipedia Officially Launches Mobile Site

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has officially launched their mobile site. It has been in beta for quite a while but now it is on a new server and considered good enough to call it done.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has officially launched their mobile site. It has been in beta for quite a while but now it is on a new server and considered good enough to call it done.The Wikimedia Tech Blog says that the iPhone, Android, Palm Pre and Amazon Kindle are officially supported. You can access the site by going to m.wikipedia.org on your phone's browser. The site should support mobile redirects as well, so if you are reading an article, such as this blog post, and in the midst of a brilliant political analysis it references Antidisestablishmentarianism, when you click on that link from your supported phone, it should redirect to the mobile site.

If you choose to edit a page because you have more information on Antidisestablishmentarianism than they have listed, you'll be kicked back to the desktop site, so be sure to have a device with a great browser and a healthy amount of bandwidth so the editing experience is relatively painless.

I initially thought with powerful browsers like Safari on the iPhone such mobile oriented sites weren't necessary since Apple had shown that a good browsing experience and mobile device weren't mutually exclusive. The Palm Pre has kept that tradition up through WebOS and Microsoft will finally be including a good browser in Windows Mobile 6.5 which launches later this year.

Even though modern mobile browsers can render most web pages in a readable format now, it is nice to have sites that recognize the user is on a smartphone and react accordingly. By doing so, it decreases the necessary bandwidth to load a page. Downloading 1-2MB of tables, text and images to read a 400 word article is brutal over an EDGE connection. Plus, it can slow the device down as it has to load that entire page into memory and then figure out how to best present it to the user on a three inch screen. A mobile site gets right to the text.

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