In a hot, luxurious room last night, a gathering of media and business professionals were told the next generation of mobile Internet was here. It's called the Pocket Surfer 2 and it's made by a company called DataWind. Sceptical, we certainly were. DataWho? But we also spent the duration of the presentation with our eyebrows continually raising, mouths continually being drawn closer to the ground.
We used the Pocket Surfer 2 and it really is deeply impressive. Why? Because it offers completely free mobile Internet -- the full Internet -- at speeds faster than any BlackBerry, any Nokia, and even the allegedly omnipotent Apple iPhone, even though it uses GPRS, not 3G.
Before you go off your gadget-loving little nut -- or think it's too good to be true -- the Pocket Surfer has some drawbacks. We were sad to see YouTube videos don't play. This is probably to do with the limited processing power under the hood. You wouldn't be able to hear anything anyway, as there's no speakers or headphone socket -- which means no VoIP, of course.
It's going to launch at the start of August for £179.99 and that includes 20 hours a month for free, but hardcore users can pay £5.99 a month for completely unlimited usage. DataWind has some hefty bulk data deals with the network operators, and as an MVNO, it covers all the costs of your Internet browsing. There's no contract, no minimum usage period and no restriction on what you can browse. There are contextual ads on the built-in search, but you don't have to use it. Pretty sweet, huh? Click through for more info.