Though I walked away with positive feelings about the DataWind PocketSurfer2 during CES, the clamshell internet device never seemed to make the same impression on the mainstream market. Or did it? A 640 x 240 resolution screen, GPRS connectivity, and lack of audio/video support certainly wouldn’t skyrocket anything into the stratosphere of success, but the features were obviously good enough for PocketSurfer2 users. Why else would they have made it into the brand new PocketSurfer2R?
The new model, released on September 30th, has been updated with a touchpad, embedded GPS receiver, improved screen, better Vodafone network coverage, and impressively priced data plan options . . . yet the rest of the specs remain unchanged.
The PocketSurfer2′s US counterpart, the PC Edge, hasn’t been updated but it has been reduced by $100. But while Americans now pay $200 for the old unit and $24.99/month for a year of service, those in the UK pay £200 for the new PocketSurfer2R and receive 20 hours of free surfing each month for a year. Unlimited surfing costs £6/month.
After the first year is up, UK owners can choose between paying a £40 annual fee or what sounds like a one-time £60 fee for the Immortality Plan, which provides unlimited surfing (in the UK) for the lifetime of the device! In addition, the PocketSurfer2R offers affordable roaming rates across Europe and the US: just £30 for 600 minutes of use.
The original £180 PocketSurfer2 will be replaced by the touchpad- and GPS-less £150 PocketSurfer2L, which is ineligible for the Immortality Plan.
For a video demo and my hands-on experience with the PocketSurfer2, check out this report from CES 2008.