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peek... the name of a funky device. (a review.)

The first Peek I ever owned was a bit over a year ago, in 2009, about a year after the device launched, because I noticed Target was selling them for 12 dollars a pop and remembered having read about them. 12 dollars for a GSM-based data-oriented device with what I believed to be $10/mo. service seemed to good to be true, and so I at least wanted to pick up one of the devices and throw it on a shelf and save it for the future, when it might be hackable/collectible.

What ended up happening was anything but that. I wound up unwrapping the blister-pack-sealed container, plugging in the device and connecting it with my debit card for one month's worth of service, just to see what would happen. I ended up liking the device's concept, how ruggedly solid the build quality was, but ultimately found the pricing to be a bit steep ($20 for a month, I do believe). The keyboard I also found to be rather stiff, but that was something I was prepared to adjust to.

A few months ago, while studying abroad in Germany, I was eligible for the "free" Peek 9 hardware upgrade, so I happily put in my credit card information with the knowledge that I wouldn't get to even unbox the thing for a few months. During my stay abroad I forgot almost completely about the Peek waiting patiently for my return, so when I walked in the door weary and tired it was a very pleasant surprise to see a medium sized sealed shipping box sitting on my desk waiting for me. After debating whether or not I should just shelf this device while I'm ahead (the last one wound up receiving surgery for the sake of curiosity), I decided to open it up and at least take some pictures. So, here we go.

The design of the Peek 9 device, in my mind, begins with the box:
The typography is pleasant, the graphics are simple and understandable, and the message is clear. Power on, log in (assuming you purchased your Peek online, otherwise you'll have to call or register a credit card to the account on the internet), and that's it. It's super fast, super easy.

When handling the Peek 9 device itself, it's obvious that typography wasn't the only thing that the Peek founders concerned themselves with. Design is simple and effective, without any fluff. While a touchscreen or alternative to the scroll wheel would have been nice to speed up interaction with the UI, the employment of the wheel and it's side-and-away location allow the keyboard to take front-and-center for the Peek 9's most critical function: responding to all those emails.

The original Peek device had a device with a rather stubborn keyboard, which I felt would eventually be broken-in and become easier to use with time. This time around, Peek has equipped the Peek 9 with a softer although identical-in-appearance keyboard, thus resolving any complaints there once were regarding the brittleness of the pad.

Other than that... there's not much else than can be said which can't be seen in the pictures, worth thousands of more words than what I could be bothered to write. Simple. Efficient. Clean. Those words best describe the Peek hardware design theory.

If you're like me, an older Peek user, you'll already have a compatible (naturally) Timbuk2 slip-case for the Peek, while at the same time you'll shake with delight at noticing the USB Firmware-Update cable, which was previously an accessory which needed to be purchased, because of a built-in chip making this actually a proprietary cord that couldn't be substituted with your average Micro-USB cable. (The phone for comparison is a Motorola F3.)

Unfortunately, I have nothing to report here! As you can see, the Peek 9 still has it's non-usable screen protector in place. Once I got to this point of unboxing and charging the Peek 9 I decided that I needed to wait for a moment when mobile email holds more value to me, a decision most likely influenced strongly by my recent new cell phone with accompanying data plan acquisition. I'll be sure to let you know if this changes at any time in the future.