For those who thought its email-only device targeted too broad a market, Peek Inc. has gone even more niche — and more absurd — with the first mobile device dedicated entirely to Twitter. TwitterPeek, as the gadget is branded, enables users to read and send tweets, reply, retweet and send direct messages on the go. The device sells for $99 plus an $8 monthly fee or $200 for a lifetime of service.
The problem, of course, 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.
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 — as my colleague Kevin C. Tofel has pointed out — 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.
What do you think?