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Peek: Mobile Email for $240 or Netbook?



Peek Email Device

I recently had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with Peek, a mobile Email-only device, while browsing through my neighborhood Target.   The Peek Mobile Email Device is created specifically for email.   According to the manufacturer, the Peek is easy to set up, use, and it doesn’t include the headaches associated with more complicated MIDs.   The device looks similar to a smartphone with a backlit, rubberized QWERTY keypad.   For $19.95 a month, users get unlimited email for up to 3 accounts.   According to Peek, there are no other fees, taxes, surprises, contracts, activation fees, or penalties, although a credit card is required for monthly service.

The question is: who actually wants to a mobile device to access only email for $19.95 a month?   The intended audience for this device appears to be families, people on the go, or novice Internet and computer users.   Subscribers are pushing $240 after only one year of service with the Peek Email device.   In my mind it seems hard to justify $240 for a mobile email service when you could buy a nice netbook for about one hundred dollars more, hop on a Wi-Fi hotspot and access your favorite email accounts.   The netbook advantages far outweigh this device.   Not only are users able to access email, they also have the ability to surf the net, complete minimal computing tasks, communicate via Skype or IM, and play an occasional game.   Granted, you do need to find a free Wi-Fi hotspot, but when was the last time that was difficult?

The Peek Email Device works with the following Email providers:

  • Yahoo
  • Hotmail
  • Gmail
  • AOL
  • Comcast
  • Verizon
  • SBC Global
  • Roadrunner
  • EarthLink
  • Cox
  • Cablevision
  • Juno
  • NetZero
  • Others

A netbook would allow novice users to learn how to become comfortable with computers and not hog an entire bag for those users that require an ultraportable device.   Even with other one-function devices like the Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle, why not opt for a netbook?   The subscription service might be limited, but the ability to perform the same and many other tasks is present.   The Peek brochure says, “With its sleek and lightweight design, Peek lets you take your email with you and stay connected.”   If you ask me, that sounds like a good motto for a netbook.



  1. amol

    10/21/2008 at 7:56 am

    Hi there Matt

    Remember, with your netbook you are going to rely on somebody’s internet connection. If it’s your own at home…that’s $40 or so per month. At work…you are lucky if you have free wifi access for your personal machine. And all the places in the middle…where you REALLY NEED that email handy — well, you are out of luck there.

    So it’s a comparison between having email all the time and a different kind of gadget — something you use mostly at home/work.

    Some of our Peeksters are telling us they are canceling their Verizon data cards when they get Peeks. They are saving $40-50 per month by doing that!

  2. Mike Moran

    10/21/2008 at 4:20 pm

    If they had supported IM and SMS the device would probably be a winner. However, with only email, the featureset is pretty limited. Also, I can’t really see too many people canceling data plans, that assumes that they never used the internet, or anything other than email checking.

  3. dave s

    10/21/2008 at 10:19 pm

    a regular cell phone with at&t’s $15 plan seems to make much more sense…

  4. amol

    10/23/2008 at 4:59 pm

    Regular cell phones just don’t fly for IM or Email :(

    And when a cell phone company says $15 they always mean $22.35

    Of course you can keep your broadband at home…but would your keep your $60/month broadband EVDO card? That’s what they are canceling…

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