A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a $99 device which gave you access to Wikipedia – and nothing else. I concluded that it would be nice to have one, but at $99, you could get much better value with even a cheap cellphone.
The wireless device does everything you could ask for when it comes to Twitter, including replies, retweets and direct messages. It can even display images from TwitPic (but can’t take and upload photos itself.)
The first time you use the TwitterPeek, you type in the details of your account and the device automatically copies across your settings including the people you follow. You can automatically update this list at any time, as well as manually adding followers by typing “f” and then the name of the account you want to follow. However, you can’t manually unfollow people on the device.
The data connection theoretically comes from manufacturer Peek’s own mobile network, though in reality the firm is simply leasing access from other networks. There is no per-use charge, but buyers must choose between paying $99 to get the device and six months usage, after which it costs $7.99 a month, or $199 to buy the device and get lifetime service. (That set-up is likely there to capitalize on people choosing the $99 option when buying it as a gift and the recipient hopefully getting hooked on the device.)
It’s very hard to see the audience here. Surely most people who desperately want constant access to Twitter away from their computer already have a smartphone. In that situation, it seems almost impossible that anyone could use Twitter so much that the costs of the TwitterPeek are cheaper than paying the relevant data costs on their smartphone, particularly as Twitter is inherently not a data-hungry service.
Even those who don’t currently have a phone which makes Twitter use viable could probably get much better value by taking the $99/$199 and putting it towards an upgrade to a smartphone.