It was all doom, gloom and sign o the times when the Encyclopaedia Britannica stilled its printing presses for the last time earlier this year, but it's back armed with vast amounts of knowledge and a new smartphone app.

The app is free, but there's a catch of course - £1.99 a month gets you full access to all the facts and figures contained therein. If you don't fancy the subscription, there are some free features (like the first 100 words of every article).

Oh, and for the time being you'll also have to shell out for an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (with iOS 4.3 or later) to get the app, although it is coming to other platforms like Android "by the end of the year".

Knowledge is power

It's not just a load of facts in app format, the iOS-based encyclopaedia also comes with interactive features like video and suggestions of related articles that you might want to hop to next.

Ian Grant, MD of Encyclopaedia Britannica UK, said, "This app will provide access to our expertly edited and curated content for millions of people and continue our commitment to education in the mobile age.

"The release of the Britannica app also marks another important step in the transformation of the Britannica business following the cessation of the publishing of the 32-volume print set. The app will significantly add to our existing extensive online and mobile product offerings."