Wireless gadget maker to offer on-the-move internet for free
DataWind blows in to Blighty
Canadian mobile internet gadget maker DataWind is coming to Europe this month on the back of the second generation of its Pocket Surfer wireless web browser, Register Hardware has learned. And it's promising "the internet anywhere... for free".
Wireless internet for free: DataWind's Pocket Surfer 2
The Pocket Surfer 2's specifications aren't known, but the first version of the device, currently available to buy in Canada and the US, is a clamshell gadget with a 640 x 240 colour display and a QWERTY keypad and cursor control built into the screen cover. The device measures 13.8 x 6.9 x 1.5cm and weighs 96.4g.
DataWind pitches the price of the hardware low - just $200 for the device - but it also requires a $10 monthly fee for the company's internet connectivity service. You can skip the regular payment with a one-off device purchase of $300.
DataWind's USP as an ISP is its server-side data compression, which it claims significantly reduces the the amount of data it sends out to the handheld. It claims that "a customer can easily save over 200MB in bandwidth with the DataWind solution, in 20 hours of usage over a month - which could result in $20-80 in carrier data charges".
DataWind's first Pocket Surfer
Time to ditch your smart phone, then? Well, no, not quite. Pocket Surfer has no cellular connectivity of its own, relying instead on a Bluetooth link to your phone.
Whether the Pocket Surfer 2 takes the same approach remains to be seen - we'll find out next week. And it's going to be interesting to see how DataWind justifies its claim that it can provide internet access for free.
Isn't this a Foleo with a smaller screen and compression (that's already done by most servers isn't it, current browsers support it anyway). Since both are updated clones of either an HP820 or Psion Netbook , you choose, can I suggest to Verizon this is clearly a patent opportunity?
Compression - pah
I've been using a web browser on my Palm for years - and it came pre-configured to use a compressing proxy. The results suck - big time. Many sites were rendered completely unusable rather than just "rather bad".
Why ? Well ever noticed all those pretty icons instead of text labels to click on ? Well yes, the compression engine happily renders all the icons down so that you can't tell what any of them do - so you have to go direct and get "the real thing" !
If they can really offer free internet access and have the phone part built in iso. requiring a bluetooth enabled phone, I want one.
So you just have to pay for the Internet access then? .
I guess for free refers to the Telecom company who have no handsets that offer internet so can offer access to their wireless internet at no cost to themselves.
Or Just By a Nokia E90
Bigger screen too at 800x352 pixels/24 bit and it's a proper phone.
The switch to the S60 interface gives you a lot of add-on applications and a little smaller in the pocket at 13.2 x 5.7 x 2cm (though +13.6g).