, the Peek 9 launched today and brings a whole new level of cool to the not-a-smartphone device. It seems nearly everything is updated from the mail service to the hardware. It’s a mighty big update for , but somehow all this goodness rings up for less than the previous generation — even the service plan is cheaper now.
The hardware comes with a $69.99 MSRP, but a service plan is required to make the thing tick. Previously there was only two options, $14.99 a month or around $300 for a lifetime plan. The new options are a tiered service, and while the lifetime option is no longer present, the updated plans of $19.99 for one month, $14.95 for 12 months and $9.99 for 24 months is more consumer focused. It presents more options. I like options.
Peek added a good amount of new features to the platform. I believe a good amount of casual — or even business-types — can forgo their expensive smartphone in favor of the Peek and not lose much of anything. This is especially true for BlackBerry users that aren’t used to the wide-range of apps found on the iPhone or Android devices. The Peek 9 has most of the basic smartphone functions: Twitter, Facebook, maps, weather, RSS, and something called Peektop Apps, which at least opens the door to 3rd party applications, but I wouldn’t count on any killer apps in the near future. There’s still support for Microsoft Outlook + Exchange so your work’s IT guys shouldn’t have any issues hooking you up.
But the question remains: can the Peek 9 stand tall as iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Android devices continue to sell like tasty cupcakes? The Peek forces you to carry another device if you want your email and whatnot. That’s not exactly convenience to many people. However, some like separating work from personal devices. This way you can leave your work at home when you’re out with the family and the significant price cut finally makes a case for the device. Hopefully the retail market picks up on the new capabilities.