Monday, March 8, 2010

New $100 handheld device only tweets

If Twitter has taught the world anything, it is that less is more. Echoing that trend of keeping it simple, here comes TwitterPeek, the first handheld device solely focused on Twitter.
E-mail, music, phone service and text messaging are notably absent on the TwitterPeek. The device does allow for sending an unlimited amount of tweets and direct messages, and comes with a color screen to view Twitpics and access to friends, companies and celebrities' Twitter feeds.
“We have the same philosophy as Twitter,” says Lauren Hahn, an executive at Peek, the company behind the new device. Peek first produced a product that only provided e-mail and text functionality. They like to keep it simple, fun and most importantly, available to the masses.
TwitterPeek has raised questions on how people use Twitter and other devices that fit into pockets. For one, Adam Ostrow, editor in chief of the social-media blog Mashable, is skeptical.
“I think it has limited appeal considering all of the choices for mobile Twitter apps,” Ostrow said. “But for those that have no intention of buying a smartphone and still want to use Twitter on-the-go, it may be an option.”
Further, 60 percent of users only access Twitter via a computer, according to a survey conducted by Crowd Science and eMarketer.com in August 2009. Three percent only use Twitter via mobile devices, while another 38 percent of tweeters use a combination of computer and mobile.
There currently seems to be an escalating competition to cram more social networks, songs, moves, cameras and applications onto a phone. But Peek points to the Flip Camera, PSP, and iPod as evidence people like devices that do one thing only.
The TwitterPeek costs $99.95, including six months of unlimited Twitter service. After that, using the device costs $7.95 per month. Hardcore tweeters may prefer the second option: Paying $199.95 for the device and a lifetime of unlimited Twitter service.
Hahn believes there is a misconception about how many Americans use, and can afford, smartphones. “Everyone seems to have a smartphone, but that not true,” she told CNN. “The vast majority of Americans still hold feature phones (voice and text).”
Hahn believes her target audience is not someone in New York, Washington, D.C. or San Francisco, where smartphones seem as common as traffic jams and people are willing to spend more money on devices that do everything.
“It is the rest of America that cannot afford the massive convergence devices, but still want to follow Lance Armstrong or Oprah on Twitter,” she said.

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