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Recently, Microsoft and Bing released their own Wikipedia app for Windows 8.1 users. Many on this site lamented that there wasn’t a similar app from Microsoft for Windows Phone, even though we have the excellent ‘Wikipedia’ from developer Rudy Huyn. That app is sanctioned by the Wikipedia Foundation, and for all intents and purposes, it’s official.

Version 2.4 was just released to the Store, and it includes one of the features people envied from the Microsoft version: Bing article recommendations.

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Microsoft has announced the winner of its Next App Star contest for Windows Phone. Drum roll, please? It's Wikipedia! Congratulations to Rudy Huyn on a well-earned victory. The Windows Phone Central app was also featured in the contest, to which we thank Microsoft for the inclusion. Unfortunately, we were unable to get through the stages.

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The Windows Phone "Next App Star" contest is winding down with voting for the final four apps ending tonight at 11:59pm PST. After which voting for the championship round will take place from April 6th to 8th.

While the WPCentral app made it to the elite eight, we fell short to ProShot, who is now facing (and leading) Amazing Weather HD. On the other side of the semi-finals you will find Wikipedia leading Voice Translator.

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Wikipedia v1.1 is now out now with custom colors

Wikipedia, by developer extraordinaire Rudy Huyn, is easily one of the nicest apps for Windows Phone. We said as much in our earlier mini-review and we stand by that statement.

Version 1.1 has just gone live in the Marketplace and there are quite a few welcome changes and additions to make this outstanding app even better…

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For those familiar with our site, you’ll know we have some developers whose work we consider to be generally the crème of the crop. Rudy Huyn is one of those and he released his new app recently aptly titled Wikipedia (his other apps include TVShow, Friend Tracker, 9Gag and Fuse)

Long story short, Rudy previously had a similar app called MyEncyclopedia. MyEncyclopedia was actually part of a contest involving the carrier Orange. Huyn wanted to control the app and updates  though so he was going to relist it under his account but alas, the developer-bug got him and he decided to redo the whole thing making it even nicer than ever.

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If you don't recognize the name Rudy Huyn, he's the developer behind TVShow and Fuse, two of the most popular apps on our platform. The reason why those apps are so popular (and revered) is due to his excellent design and coding skills. Even our own developer, Jay Bennett, called him one of the top devs on Windows Phone these days.

So with that intro, how do you not want to take a look at his new app MyEncyclopedia, which according to him is his "...little Christmas gift for all Windows Phone users"? The app is a Wikipedia front-end for Windows Phone, which in of itself is not unique, but the design, features and speed of it make it top notch. For one, it's extremely fast on loading articles which are formatting perfectly for our screens. Second, he's enabled the ability to pull down your location, show it on Bing maps and then show you Wikipedia entries around you--pretty slick. He also used his excellent sharing-screen from Fuse, which allows you to post the article to email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and our favorite, generate a QR code for others to scan with their phone. Other features on board are:

  • Search in 100 languages
  • Offline mode to view article without internet connection
  • Display the summary of the article
  • Find your favorite articles
  • View previous versions of article

The crazy thing? He developed it 18 hours (3 nights). The app is not only free, but ad-free as well. So if you need any kind of Wikipedia app, we have to give our highest recommendation for this one. Pick it up here in the Marketplace or click the QR code below to enlarge and scan.

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Wikirama - App Spotlight

Wikirama is a Wikipedia portal for your Windows Phone. Wikirama lays everything out nicely making use of the Metro style panorama.  The app was recently updated to give Wikirama a cleaner appearance and a settings page.  Having first tinkered with the previous version, the updated version is a noticeable improvement.  Here's how Wikirama breaks down.

Wikirama supports twenty-one languages and has an auto-complete search feature. Your search history appears just below the search field (eliminates the previous History page).  Wikirama allows you to open up to six concurrently open tabs for your searches and you can add topics to your favorites page.  Wikirama supports both landscape and portrait viewing.

Your search result page gives you a window view of the Wikipage that is touch scrollable.  You can also pull the Wikipage full screen to access the full version of the topic page.

Overall impression: WikiRama is a clean, simple Wikipedia client.  I liked the auto-complete feature and that the search history was moved to the search page.  It gives the app a cleaner look and hunting down your search topic a little more efficient.  If you tinker with Wikipedia often, Wikirama is worth checking into.

There are two versions available for Wikirama. There is a free version, Wikirama Free that is ad supported that you can find here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. You also have an ad-free version of Wikirama that will run you $.99 and you can find it here at the Marketplace. There is a trial version for the ad-free option.

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Wiki Bee - Review

Hekool is offering a Wikipedia app over at the Marketplace, Wiki Bee. Wiki Bee is a straight forward, simple to use, Wikipedia portal for Windows Phone 7.

The Windows Phone app comes in two flavors; a free version (Wiki Bee Free) and a paid version (Wiki Bee). Both versions allow you to search in 35 languages, auto-complete searches, quick navigation through a table of contents, and the means to immediately return to your most recent topic searched.

The differences rest with the paid version of Wiki Bee. With the pay version you add the ability to save topics as favorites, jump to any topic in your search history, and have offline access to your history and favorites.

For more on the Wiki Bee apps, buzz on past the break.

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Out in the Marketplace there are quite a few Wikipedia apps. Everyone tends to have their favorite and I found mine after having gone through the bunch. It's Wikipedia Search.

Reason? It's fast, minimalist, elegant and to the point. Plus it's quite powerful with those options I'm looking for (mobile view vs desktop), dynamic search, multi-language support, etc.

It's not free (not many of the Wiki apps are) but at $0.99 it was a no brainer for me. Check out the vid to see why and grab yourself a trial version here if you want to take it for a spin. Oh and look for some full reviews of other Wiki apps soon. Finally, check out our WikiRand video for some live tile randomness.

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WikiPanda - Review

Wikipedia has grown into one of the largest reference sources on the planet. WikiPanda, on the other hand, is a Windows Phone 7 application that will make tapping into Wikipedia from your Windows Phone easy.

Developed by PandaBits, WikiPanda offers you a hub interface with Wikipedia that will let you search by topic, view featured articles and historical facts for that particular date. WikiPanda presents the information nicely with a clean looking, easily navigated layout.

To read a bit more on this reference application for your Windows Phone, slide on past the break.

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While we like to showcase the "big" apps here at WPCentral, we can't forget the thousands of indy develoeprs out there.

WikiRand is one of my new favorite apps due to its simplicity and feeding on my unsatiiable quest for odd knowledge. The program adds a Tile to your start screen and it randomly downloads articles from Wikipedia. It then displays the image from that article and title, giving you a sneak peak.

The app automatically updates, though I'm not sure how often (looks to be every hour) and wile you can turn that on/off, you can't set the interval. It doesn't use much data as the article is only downloaded if you click the tile. It can take a few seconds to load over 3G but it's fast over Wi-Fi. Other than that though, for $0.99 (Try-before-you-buy is available) you can't beat it.

Highly recommended for you wiki addicts.

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