Thursday, September 25, 2008


There's an excellent review on the SeaKayak Photo site of a neat pocket-sized internet device called the 'PocketSurfer'. This item uses cell phone technology to surf the internet. Being battery powered it's useful for keeping in touch with friends and the local weather service while out paddling. Best of all, the cost in Europe is very reasonable, roughly $300 cdn to buy which includes 20 free browsing hours per month for the first year. After that, monthly 20 hour browsing costs are less than $100 cdn a year. Best of all, it works throughout Europe and Great Britain!

I'm looking for such a device and when I discovered it was made in Canada, I contacted the company, Datawind, Inc. Here's what they had to say...

"Unfortunately the Pocketsurfer is not yet available here. The primary impediment being the high cost of data calls due to lack of competition in the wireless industry. The device works just fine on the Rogers network but we have, as of yet, not been able to negotiate reasonable rates with them."

This is the same problem the iphone ran into here in Canada. High data costs. Canada is rapidly becoming a third world country for its lack of decently priced services. Gas companies in my area were recently cited for jointly rigging prices, yet the gouging continues unabated. Phone companies control all the communication media and obviously rig prices among themselves. No one has dared step outside the box and offer truly competitive services. We have a national election in full swing, but none of this is mentioned as an issue.

In the meantime, I plod along with beat-up roads, high gas prices, increasingly tightened international border controls when traveling, dial-up internet, fuzzy television, no cell phone and, now, no PocketSurfer. It seems that Europe, where one surfs and travels with fewer and fewer hindrances, people are moving rapidly ahead of us North Americans in so many ways.

Thankfully I paddle. It makes all the annoyances I suffer under disappear!


David H. Johnston said...

It's funny that you brought this up because when I read the article that Simon posted, I immediately thought the same thing but like you was disappointed that it worked/but didn't work in Canada.

The lack of innovation available to Canada because of high prices is terrible.


David J.

Michael said...

In fact the device WILL work on the Roger's network here in Canada if you want to pay the high fees associated with their data transmission. Sadly, the annual fee in European service will only pay for about a month here in Canada...