After a brief stint as TheEdge, the design abomination known as the PocketSurfer is back with a vengeance. Well, an updated look and 12-month "free airtime" GPRS connectivity offer, anyway. Unveiled at 3GSM back in February, the DataWind PocketSurfer2 is making waves again by serving as the main attraction at an unnamed company-hosted event next week.
The self-proclaimed "world’s fastest web access device" seems slated for a UK release and is priced at £179.98, which includes not only the cost of the 6.0" x 3.0" x 0.6" clamshell itself but also a year’s worth of (limited) access to DataWind’s "unique wireless web access solution that boosts wireless output by a factor of more than 10X."
Unlimited access to this network, which enables web pages to load in under 10 seconds, is an additional £20.
I can’t make it out in any of the product renderings, but according to the official specs, the 6.1-ounce PocketSurfer2 is equipped with a mouse pointer and mini-USB charging port, as well as a backlit QWERTY thumboard and what might be a 640 x 240 display (like the original PocketSurfer, which, in case you were wondering, can still be purchased).
The device is powered by a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery that is rated at only 2 hours for "active usage" (surfing the Web while running, perhaps?) and 8 hours on standby.
Considering that most of the site content about the "new" PocketSurfer2 is a blatant copy-and-paste job from the original PocketSurfer site (compare this with this), I’m not exactly counting down the days until the big reveal. The PocketSurfer, you may remember, is a device that received positive attention three years ago. Three years ago!
Has anything but the hardware changed? We’ll find out soon enough.
Update 1.9.08: Hands-on with the DataWind PocketSurfer2.