Canadian wireless internet device maker DataWind showed off its PocketSurfer2 device to Tech.co.uk at the Canadian High Commission in London last night. The company claims that the device will speed up web searches by up to 30 times. It could be the answer to efficient web surfing on the go.

Imagine being in a taxi on the way to a meeting. To fill the 10 minute journey time, you think of doing an internet search of the company you're travelling to. Doing this with a standard web-enabled phone can be a gruelling experience, but the PocketSurfer2 could change this.

In those 10 minutes in the cab, you'd be able to check up on the company history, its management, stock information, plus check your email and the latest news while you're at it.

The PocketSurfer2 works by effectively compressing content down, while still retaining the look and feel of a website as you'd expect from a standard-sized computer.

Ultra-portable

It's an ultra-portable internet communications device. It allows you to browse the web in its original HTML layout, with full graphics, Java support and other functionalities, on its 640 x 240 colour widescreen display. An integrated mouse pointer and a full-format, backlit Qwerty keyboard completes the package.

"Our goal was to deliver the real web, fast and free," Suneet Tuli, CEO of Datawind, told us.

"With PocketSurfer2 mobile users can surf the internet anytime, anyplace and enjoy the same rich media graphics and browser functionality of the desktop experience. This device is going to revolutionise the way we work, play, communicate and take advantage of the wireless web," Tuli added.

The PocketSurfer2 uses GPRS rather than the faster 3G technology. DataWind said they chose the GPRS technology since it's cheaper and has a much broader coverage than 3G networks.

"Even on GPRS, the PocketSurfer2 is faster than most handheld devices running on EDGE or UMTS 3G, eliminating the need for an expensive 3G modem, which would significantly increase the cost of the service."

Look and feel

The web pages we tested ( Tech.co.uk as well as graphics heavy web pages such as CNN.com ) loaded in less than seven seconds. And they retained their look and feel.

DataWind's back-end acceleration technology couples the device with the power of a high-end server with pretty much infinite bandwidth. This combination reduces page size, which can bring down data consumption by factors of 10x to 30x. And this causes the speed-increase, compared to other devices.

Tuli compared the PocketSurfer2 web experience to that of the Apple iPhone . "It's a great product - a great phone and a great iPod. In reviews of the device, its Safari web browser has been widely praised - but the overall speed and responsiveness hasn't been great. So much for Apple's 'real internet' claims," he said.

The PocketSurfer will be on sale in the UK as of the first week of August for £180. Basic usage (20 hours per month) is included free for the first year, with no additional fees. Basic use for the second year costs a maximum of £40 for the whole year. Heavy users can opt for the unlimited access option for £6 per month.

Features:

  • Independent self-contained unit
  • GPS location information
  • Lithium polymer battery
  • 5 hours battery life for active usage, and 5 days standby
  • Built-in high performance antenna
  • Transreflective backlit display
  • 640 x 240 VGA colour
  • Mini USB charger
  • Mouse pointer
  • Backlit QWERTY keyboard
  • Sub 7-second page-load
  • Web browsing in original layout
  • Weight - 174 grams
  • Dimensions - 152 x 75 x 15 mm