Smartphone Alternative for Peek
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A simpler way to get email on the go
Not everyone wants a phone that does it all. Some people just want to stay connected to their email without being chained to their computer—or carrying around an expensive, feature-heavy smartphone. To meet their needs, Peek joined forces with IDEO to design a streamlined mobile device that delivers one thing and one thing only: unlimited access to email.
The result is an inexpensive gadget that’s stylish, lightweight, and straightforward. The design team paired a large (2.5 inches), high-contrast display with a full keyboard and a scroll wheel to make reading text and navigating onscreen menus easy. A soft rubber skin over the keypad promotes typing comfortably, and the metal frame with aluminum backing is sturdy and sleek. The device is extremely thin (10mm) and light (3.8 ounces). (For comparison’s sake, an iPhone is 25 percent thicker, and a Blackberry is nearly 2 ounces heavier.)
The Peek supports up to three email accounts, Web-based or otherwise. At setup, it prompts users to enter their email handle and password. The device, available at Getpeek.com and Target stores, sells for less than $100 and unlimited nationwide service is $19.95 per month; no contract required. Bonus savings: When using the Peek to send email, consumers use 97 percent less electricity than emailing from a PC.
Time magazine named the Peek one of the best inventions of 2008. Forbes featured it as a “Gadget We Crave.” And Wired magazine gave it top ranking in its gear that helped them forget the year’s economic downturn.
“It won’t satisfy convergence-rabid smartphone fetishists, but for the rest of the world (i.e., the majority of it), this one-trick pony is a godsend,” wrote Terrence Russell in Wired. “In terms of looks, its slim profile stands up to the big boys. But the real treat is the interface. Instead of forcing you to wrestle with laborious setup menus, the Peek asks for a name, email address, and password. That’s it.”
Project date: 2009