updated 08:25 am EDT, Fri July 20, 2007
DataWind on Friday took the wraps off its anticipated PocketSurfer2 handheld. The flip-top device breaks the traditional models of cellular Internet devices by relying on a new, extremely efficient download method. Although the portable is only equipped with early GPRS access rather than EDGE or HSDPA, a custom data accelerator produces usable websites far faster than most devices. Where some sites would take two minutes to load a single page, the PocketSurfer can often manage the same in just seven seconds, according to DataWind's estimates. A 640x240 widescreen also promises a far more accurate page layout than the often cramped visuals of other mobile browsers.
Users can run the PocketSurfer in browsing for a full 5 hours thanks to a notebook-style lithium polymer battery, and also have access to assisted GPS to locate their position without a dedicated receiver or a separate subscription fee.
The low demand on the network is also beneficial to both the user and DataWind itself; as the company no longer needs to pay for high-speed access, it can afford to provide access for free after users buy the device. Paying the £180 ($369) initial fee nets a year's worth of light use of about 20 hours per month, while additional years cost £40 ($82) for similar use. Frequent users can alternately subscribe for $12 per month to receive unlimited access.
Devices ship in Britain on August 16th; the Canada-based company hopes to release the PocketSurfer2 in other regions as well but has not revealed its plans.