Peek, a New York mobile start-up, has begun selling TwitterPeek, a new device for posting and reading Twitter updates.
TwitterPeek became available on Amazon and Peek’s Web site Tuesday. Its $100 price includes a full keyboard, always-on tweet delivery and nationwide Internet coverage, plus six months of service. After that, service costs $8 a month, but there is no contract. An alternate lifetime plan, without monthly charges, costs $200.
Peek sells other handheld devices that aren’t cellphones, including the Peek Classic and Peek Pronto, which are designed for emailing and text-messaging but don’t make calls. It’s pitching TwitterPeek as a way to “unleash the thrill of Twitter on the go,” particularly for Twitter users without smart phones.
But how many of those people will be lining up for it? Or, as PC Mag asks, “TwitterPeek is for people who want Twitter, but don’t want to surf the Web on their phones. Do they exist?” Many skeptics are tweeting their votes.
“The obvious problem is that plenty of phones at that price point and below integrate Twitter services very well (and Twitter’s novelty factor may be wearing thin anyway). Twitter apps are available on $99 smartphones such as the iPhone 3G and Palm Pre, and even cut-rate feature phones can handle basic Twitter functions. But the most laughable thing about the TwitterPeek is the thought that users somehow need a dedicated device for every social networking site or mobile Internet app. It’s akin to having one television on which to watch sports, a second for movies and a third for sitcoms. Oh, and paying separate cable subscriptions for each TV”, writes Colin Gibbs of Gigaom.
“That’s not to say there’s no room for dedicated devices in the era of the superphone. The success of the Kindle has demonstrated that users are still willing to pay a premium for a device that’s built for the consumption of a specific kind of content, and we’re likely to see a wave of new dedicated devices as connectivity moves beyond phones and laptops into a variety of consumer electronics products. But one of Twitter’s key qualities is its ease of use from almost any connected device, from PCs to cutting-edge smartphones to antiquated feature phones. So asking users to pay $100 plus a monthly fee for a Twitter-optimized gadget seems like a dead-end (and downright silly) strategy”, adds Gibbs. ($99 + subscription, www.twitterpeek.com).