A Sneak Peek at the E-mail-Only Peek

We just had a hands-on with the Peek, a new device that resembles a smart phone but is strictly dedicated to serving up your e-mail. Sound dumb? To you, it should. The device is targeted strictly at non-techies that don’t have e-mail on their phones and don’t care to figure it out, either. It even says "not for hardcore techies" right on the box.

We went into our meeting a bit dumbfounded, wondering why a device should do just e-mail. But we came out realizing that, well, the Kindle is for books, and the Peek is for e-mail.

We are expecting our review unit in the next few days, but we spent some time with the device earlier today. We did notice that the Peek took a bit longer than a BlackBerry to bring up a new message window and to load the menu options. However, the user interface is dead simple, and sending new messages should be a breeze for the tech-incompetent. We loved the spacious, rubberized keyboard and its tactile feedback. You should have no problem slipping the Peek into a pocket since it is, according to Peek CEO Amol Sarva, "30 percent thinner than the iPhone."

The $99 Peek supports IMAP and POP accounts and most Web accounts, including Yahoo and Gmail. Since it’s made for Joe Consumer, it supports images but not Office docs or other attachments.

Peek, available in black, cherry, or aqua, will cost $19.95 per month for the data connectivity (provided by T-Mobile's network) and there’s no contract. To get one, you can visit GetPeek.com next week or go to any Target store starting on September 15 and grab one right off the shelf.

Stay tuned for a full review.

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