Datawind has launched a new version of its PocketSurfer 2 mobile internet device. The PocketSurfer 2R has increased roaming capabilities in the US and Europe thanks to a new deal with Vodafone.
Speaking at the launch in London, Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said the biggest improvements to the device were the addition of a mouse-like touchpad to help navigate the page and a better screen.
Tuli said the device offered the best browsing experience of any mobile internet product.
"It’s not Wap and it’s not the reformatted web page, this is the desktop experience," he said.
The handheld product still doesn’t include Wi-Fi access, which the company shrugged off during questioning by saying access charges were still too high to make it necessary.
However, Tuli said the PocketSurfer was still the fastest mobile internet device on the market – even when compared with Apple’s iPhone.
The company showed a YouTube video of the two products opening ordinary web pages and documents such as PDFs, with the PocketSurfer working considerably quicker.
"It’s still the fastest handheld device on the market, even though it’s only using GPRS," Tuli said.
Don’t expect to max out your surfing on YouTube or the BBC iPlayer though, as Datawind deems its products to be not suitable for audio, video or fast moving gaming applications.
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So what are the costs? Well, the PocketSurfer 2R will set you back £199, which gives you 20 hours internet access a month for the first 12 months (an additional annual subscription costs £39.99). If you go over that limit you can add unlimited monthly surfing for an extra £5.99. Or you could opt to pay a flat fee of £59.99 and have unlimited access within the UK for the life of the product.
Should you want to get the most out of that lifetime deal, an extended one-year warranty will add £19.99 – although Datawind said longer terms will be available soon.
Existing PocketSurfer 2 users also get the option to upgrade to the latest version by mailing back the current model and paying £99.
The PocketSurfer is available now from John Lewis, PC World, Amazon, Maplin, Partners and Ideal World, as well as other retailers.
* Weight: 174g
* Dimensions: 152mm x 75mm x 15mm
* 640 x 240-pixel full-colour wide screen
* Metallic backlit Qwerty keyboard
* Keys that are six times larger than those available on other handhelds
* User-friendly touchpad mouse navigation
* Embedded GPS satellite receiver
* Lithium polymer battery with four hours battery life
* MiniUSB charger
* In-built high-performance antenna.