Version Reviewed: 1.0
iPhone Integration [rating:3]
User Interface [rating:3]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:5]
Wikipedia Mobile's primary purpose is to search Wikipedia for articles when you are online, which you can then save to your iPhone to view offline. The app retains original article formatting and offers integrated search, but does not have zoom, bookmarking, or annotation capabilities. It can be quite valuable to anyone who relies on Wikipedia for research and requires access to articles when not connected.
While you can already search Wikipedia from the iPhone's built-in Safari web browser, it doesn't allow offline access of web pages. That's where Wikipedia Mobile comes in. Simply put, it is an offline Wikipedia viewer. You can use it to search for Wikipedia articles and then ask it to save them for offline use.
It does a great job of preserving the original formatting and provides highly readable articles with all footnotes and links intact. It provides a browsing history, and articles can easily be accessed from a centralized listing. While reading an article you can search for word or phrase occurrences, and articles can be viewed from Wikipedia in 28 languages with 15 language localizations.
What Wikipedia Mobile doesn't do is preserve images, though they are accessible as long as you are connected and reading articles online. It also doesn't provide any facility to place bookmarks within articles or allow you to annotate them in any way. Lastly, and this is more of an issue for those of us who are growing a little older and having trouble reading small text, it doesn't allow you to zoom in or out or rotate the view when the iPhone is changed to landscape mode. It does fortunately allow you to change the font size, although you have to go to the iPhone's settings app to do that.
Wikipedia Mobile is another one of those single-purpose iPhone apps that is absolutely worth the money if all you need is a way to create a collection of offline Wikipedia articles. It is a no-frills app, though, with none of the features routinely found in an ereader or in offline viewers found on PCs or the Mac.
With the addition of bookmarking, annotation tools, and some multi-touch features, like the ability to use pinch to zoom in and out, it might feel like a more substantial release. It could also greatly benefit from features like tagging or nested folders that could one could use to organize offline articles. As it stands, it's recommended only if you find yourself relying alot on Wikipedia and are often disconnected from the Internet (like those of us with the iPod Touch so often are).