Peek's tiny handheld wireless email gizmo has had a fascinating success story, and its modeled on a "simplicity versus complexity" ethic that sets it against the increasingly sophisticated Blackberry. Now, in an effort to capitalize on its fame, Peek has come out with a new version that's mainly aimed at business users.
It's called the Peek Pronto, and at first glance not much has been changed in the device's recipe since the Peek version 1. There's still the same slim candybar form-factor, with a front face 50-50 divided between simple QVGA color screen and QWERTY keypad. The keypad is slightly updated, though, and the case comes in a more "businessy" drab charcoal grey color.
But it's under the hood where things have really been tweaked. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles—but the core functionality of mobile messaging has been enhanced, according to the press release. The machine is now a push email device, with "unlimited email and texting" and it's compatibile with Microsoft Exchange. Plus you can view images, PDFs and "doc" files—saved Word files—on its display. It connects to up to five email accounts, so you can happily check your Yahoo private stuff as well as the corporate email. And there's the ability to search through mail for keywords—something that Apple's only just incorporating into the iPhone, and not in a fully-enabled manner.
Best of all, there's apparently a 50% improvement in speed of the Peek's software.
It's likely to be a great success for two reasons. For starters, it's cheap. The unit costs just $80, and a monthly "no secret extra fees" account is just $20 for unlimited data. And best of all, the device is mind-bogglingly simple: all the device does is let you read and send your email on the fly and in a timely manner. When I got my first Blackberry that's essentially all I used the device for—the integrated telephone app was so bad, and the sound quality was very poor, that I used a separate cellphone for conversation—and it was amazingly useful to have access to my corporate email when out of the office. But nowadays Blackberrys feature all sorts of integrated bells and whistles—while that's pushed their utility up, of course, it's also increased the device's costs. And, it's added complexity where perhaps simplicity is best. After all, you don't want your corporate suits getting distracted with browsers and games do you?