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PocketSurfer2: the ultimate iPhone-killer?

Here at PC Advisor, we like to bring you the hottest products as soon as they're available. Sometimes, though, that can be a tricky feat to pull off.

This month's review of Datawind's PocketSurfer2 device is a case in point. For those who didn't see our news story last month, the PocketSurfer2 is the hot device that could potentially blow open the mobile internet market. Granted, you can currently get internet access on mobile phones but, for the most part, cybersurfing on the move isn't for the easily frustrated. When Apple's iPhone hits our shores, we can expect it to offer pretty solid internet facilities provided you stick to dull web pages and don't mind the odd wait. But is that good enough? Well, no, and Datawind intends to show the world how it should be done.

The PocketSurfer2 is dedicated to using the internet, which means it can concentrate on the important aspects of cruising the web - delivering the contents in double-quick time, for instance. At one stage we even had a YouTube video working - even if subsequent attempts to display video weren't always successful. (Oh, and there's no sound on the PocketSurfer2, which does reduce the impact of watching a music video.) Generally, though, the PocketSurfer2 is a great way to go online without being tethered to a Wi-Fi connection. It's also very low on running costs.

The problem is, much of this is hard for us to test. Access seems okay but, since it hasn't gone on sale yet, how many people are really connected? What's going to happen if thousands of users all want to access their PocketSurfer2 simultaneously?

Keeping an online service up is tough. Blizzard had a hard time keeping its phenomenally successful World of Warcraft game up and running and, for the first year, players had to get used to large queues and endless downtime waiting for yet another server problem to be corrected before the games could commence. If the PocketSurfer2 really does become a success, will Datawind have the technology and resourcefulness to keep its users happily speeding along the information superhighway?

This is obviously a product we'll be returning to in the near future, once we start to see how the PocketSurfer2 fares in reality. The sensible thing for consumers would be to wait a few months before trying it out. If you can wait that long.

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