Oxford dictionary question...and ideas



I am considering a switch to the iPhone version of Pleco (already a heavy user of it on the Windows Mobile), mainly because of the apparent dead-end of the WM6 platform, and also based on previous comments about the iPhone becoming the main/flagship platform for Pleco going forward.

I use a lot of flashcards and many are linked to the entries in the Oxford dictionary. The reason is that often the Oxford dictionary entry is more concise and the examples are frequently better or at least more realistic (less like excerpts from Chairman Mao’s little red book, as can appear in the other dictionaries!). The other dictionaries’ entries can also be quite overwhelming – at least for someone trying to use them as flashcards…of course it’s great to have detailed entries for the actual dictionary function. Also I (now) see the lack of pinyin in the Oxford entries as a big plus of this dictionary!

Anyway, I know the iPhone flashcard system isn’t actually ready yet, but I wondered what will happen to all my old flashcards which point to the Oxford entries if I copy the flashcards over to the iPhone pleco?

Or, is it possible for me to move the Oxford dictionary file from my WM phone to the iPhone, so it will still be available within Pleco? (I have a feeling the answer to this will be NO!)

Another idea …have you considered having the Oxford dictionary as an optional add-on product for the iPhone version, which people can buy if they want to…and maybe you (Pleco) come to a deal with the Oxford publisher so that you only pay a licence fee for each individual purchase? I’d certainly be prepared to pay a separate fee for continued access to that dictionary…maybe others would do the same.

In fact this might be a good model for other more esoteric dictionaries, where you don’t necessarily want to buy a licence covering your whole userbase.



Staff member
Oxford-based flashcards will have to be remapped to another dictionary on iPhone; thanks for the reminder about that, we'll need to include instructions about it in the WM-to-iPhone flashcard moving guide. There's no way to move over the dictionary, unfortunately, we don't have a license for it on iPhone and the Oxford database file won't work (won't even open) in our iPhone software.

We already license lots of dictionaries under a per-copy model - this is a big part of why our prices are so high - but that wouldn't help in the Oxford situation. I can't go into much more detail than that, since the license agreement is confidential. But absent a last-minute deal with them we're tentatively planning to remove Oxford's dictionaries from all of our products this summer (though we'll continue allowing people to access their previous Oxford purchases), and may even make an announcement to that effect soon so that people have some warning about it; there's not much point in continuing to license a dictionary that's Palm- and WM-only, however long our history with it may be.


I'm also dreading the experience of re-mapping all my Oxford flashcard entries to other dictionaries... I'd like to be able to choose for each entry which dictionary it will re-map to (or at least flag them for future manual review) because in many cases I've chosen the Oxford entry because I consider it better or more accurate than the other dictionaries.

This manual review is going to be a big pain and I must say that if I could just pay money to make the pain go away, I would. (i.e. pay again for Oxford).


Staff member
Well, the interface for that should be a bit easier on iPhone at least, since the Card Info screen has gotten a bit more user-friendly; you can do a search for all of your Oxford cards, tap on the first one, tap on the button to change its dictionary entry, select a new dictionary / entry (same interface as the regular definition view screen), then tap on the scroll down button (still within Card Info) and repeat.