Orange-WikiMedia Deal: Good for PC, Not As Good for Mobile

It's a potentially good deal for Wikipedia and may lead to some revenues for the cash-starved organization but do users really want Wikipedia on their mobile phones? France Telecom, whose mobile brand is Orange, has done a deal with the non-profit Wikimedia foundation (which owns Wikipedia). That deal will provide Wikipedia content to Orange's PC portals (makes sense here) and mobile phones (not so much sense in my view).

Orange subscribers will gain access to co-branded Orange-Wikipedia content. There will also be specific content "channels" and mobile widgets. Any ads associated with the pages will provide Wikipedia with some unspecified portion of the revenue. 

The deal apparently will roll out in the near term in the UK, Spain and France and in other countries over time. 

Wikipedia does have a mobile site:

Mobile Wikipedia

I suppose as a source of factual information or trivia on the go it would be useful, but the generally lengthy and often heavily footnoted articles are particularly ill-suited to the mobile use case. 


Update: Here's the press release and the following site contains a video that offers some additional background on the deal. To the extent that Orange and WikiMedia collaborate to develop experiences that specifically contemplate the limitations of mobile handsets they might be able to overcome my critique above. But it remains the case that what users can and are willing to do online is quite different in many cases than on mobile handsets. On mobile, I'm looking for quick facts and information as a basic matter. Longer-form content I will generally leave to the larger screen on the PC.

As netbooks and forthcoming IP-connected tablets gain adoption, however, some of these mobile-specific concerns and issues disappear.