Datawind has launched a new version of its Ubisurfer netbook running on the Windows CE operating system in place of the original model's Linux OS.

With its smart, no-frills design and promise of ubiquitous free internet access, the Ubisurfer has many of the ingredients of the ultimate netbook. However, the original model was let down by clunky software so the addition of the more familiar Windows CE could make the device a worthy companion for those requiring basic web connectivity on the move.

Designed for embedded systems, Windows CE is a far cry from Microsoft's desktop Windows operating systems, but it is similar in appearance and operation to the software giant's more powerful products. It also promises performance benefits - the original Ubisurfer took 90 seconds to boot up, while the Windows CE version we saw at the Gadget Show Live this week took just 10 to 15 seconds.

Ubisurfer keyboard

Primed with 128MB of RAM and 1GB of flash memory, the UbiSurfer's 7in widescreen display has an 800x480-pixel resolution. Connectivity is provided by a combination of GPRS, Wi-Fi and LAN.

Like the original model, the second-generation UbiSurfer provides free access to the web for 12 months. Basic usage for the second year would cost a maximum of £29.99 for the whole year at 30 hours per month.

The Windows CE-based Ubisurfer is available now for £159 from Ideal World, Maplin, CPC, Dabs, Ebuyer, Laptops Direct and Xenex.

See also:

Ubisurfer review

Netbook reviews