Thursday, 22 January 2009

Small screen$


Angela subsequently provided a correction for this post; the error was in the cited publication:
"The new platform has nothing to do with Nokia as far as I know. I've sent a correction to the author of that article. The Foundation already has a branding deal with Nokia but that's not related to this."

Angela Beesley (former member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, and current chair of the Advisory Board), has indicated during a talk at that the Foundation will be announcing a new mobile platform for Wikipedia later in the year. According to ZDNet Australia, the platform is currently under development and will be licensed to Nokia.

There are already a number of iPhone apps for reading Wikipedia, whether online and offline, including plenty of good free apps. In addition to dedicated apps, there is a solid specialised Wikipedia mobile interface, and there have been efforts to make the regular web interface of Wikimedia wikis more practicable in mobile browsers.

It's good news, however, to hear that a dedicated Wikipedia interface is on its way for one of the closed mobile platforms. What's also interesting is to hear that the platform will be licensed to Nokia, which makes it sound as if there's some commercial arrangement involved. It's interesting in that Angela's talk also touched on the recent success of the fundraiser, and the possibility of alternative sources of funds, such as selling physical versions of content like books and posters.

Licensing a branded mobile platform strikes me as an interesting potential revenue stream. It reminds me of Mozilla's arrangement with Google: something that benefits users, and also allows money to be made without compromising on principles (unlike, say, introducing ads).