Peek (mobile Internet device)
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|Compatible networks||Peek, T-Mobile, KPN, Aircel|
|Availability by country||September 2008|
|Dimensions||4.0" × 2.7" × 0.4"|
|Weight||3.8 oz (109 grams)|
|Operating system||Peekux SDK on Mentor Graphics Nucleus|
|Memory||8 MB internal storage|
|Connectivity||GSM tri-band US, Euro, India|
|Headquarters||New York, NY|
Peek Inc. was a mobile technology company headquartered in New York, NY. The company's roots were with its mobile Internet device, an ultra low-cost smartphone that was an email-only mobile handheld device launched in September 2008.
Peek was founded in 2007 by three of the first four employees at Virgin Mobile USA – Rob Gray (Virgin's first head of product marketing), CEO Dr. Amol Sarva (Virgin's first head of non-voice applications and its finance director), and John Tantum (its first employee and first President). The company has offices in New York, NY, New Delhi, India, Nanjing, China and staff in Arizona, California, and Toronto.
Peek software and cloud
Peek's product is a family of applications for mobile devices that major device producers license and pre-install. These applications include push email, IM and chat, social networking apps, synchronization and backup, and other features that users expect from modern phones. These apps are tailored to the lower-cost and simpler hardware that dominates the global phone market, and relies on the Peek cloud architecture to offload computing and storage from the phone to the cloud.
In September 2008, the original Peek email device launched in Target stores across the United States. On September 12, 2008, Peek received its first review in a major outlet when David Pogue called it "sweet", "simple", "elegant" and predicted that Peek's model would win "quiet, gradual popular acceptance by normal people".
In April 2009, Peek launched their second device, the Peek Pronto, which supports Push email ('instant' delivery), Microsoft Exchange, increased support for email attachments (PDFs, DOC and pictures), and unlimited texting support.
TwitterPeek, introduced in November 2009, is a mobile device that allows users to send and receive tweets using Twitter. It is the first Twitter-only mobile device. It went on sale on November 3, 2009.
In 2010, Peek refreshed its lineup with Peek 9 – adding Facebook, Twitter and other social and news features.
In 2011, the first 3rd party handsets launched from fast-growing producers such as MicroMax in India. The Peek software brings smartphone features to these low-cost handhelds.
In 2012, Peek announced that it was going to end support for the Peek device and instead shift their attention to the cloud.
The 2008 Peek device was designed by Peek in partnership with IDEO and BYD, and its architecture is based on the Texas Instruments Locosto chipset with an ARM core. It uses a customized, lightweight operating system nicknamed "Peekux" which is based on Nucleus RTOS by Mentor Graphics.
The Peek device's client firmware is C/C++ code written for the TI environment. Flavors of the Peek application for alternative operating environments from other RTOSes, to BREW, to Windows, to Android have all been spotted.
The core of Peek's real time mobile messaging platform is a cloud application. The environment is a conventional web application LAMP stack and relies in part on Amazon Web Services.
This cloud application has been deployed on many partner company devices since 2010.
Elizabeth Woyke of Forbes wrote, "at a time when the economy is melting and one-time bankers are on the street [Peek] is betting customers will embrace the no-fuss simplicity - not to mention the modest price - of the Peek."
Tony Long, a journalist of Gadget Lab from Wired.com reviewed Peek as a device that "delivers peak email performance" and that using the device was "a breeze... even without operating instructions". He recommended the Peek device to those who would like access to their "e-mail from time to time, or if [they] believe that simplicity in all things is the key to life".
Wired Magazine's December 2008 issue named Peek their #1 Gadget on their "Gear of the Year" review: "Not every gadget needs a carnival of features. Take the Peek, which tackles just a single task: mobile email. No phone, no browser, no camera—and no apologies. It won't satisfy convergence-rabid smartphone fetishists, but for the rest of the world (i.e., the majority of it), this one-trick pony is a godsend. In terms of looks, its slim profile stands up to the big boys. But the real treat is the interface."
After the Peek Pronto launch, International Design Magazine featured Peek Pronto on the cover of its 2009—and final—Annual Design Review.
TwitterPeek, on the other hand, met broad skepticism in the press. CNN.com 2009 Year in Review listed it as one of the top 10 biggest technology failures of 2009. Gizmodo went as far as to name TwitterPeek as one of the "50 Worst Gadgets of the Decade."
In 2010, Peek 9's enhanced features were met by Engadget's reviewers as "dancing with a full list of features" and "Peek 9 is nine times faster than Pronto, adds PeekMaps, weather, Twitter, and Facebook". TechCrunch's gadget reviewers said Peek 9 "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 Peek, but somehow all this goodness rings up for less than the previous generation — even the service plan is cheaper now."
On October 14, 2010, older Peek devices were disconnected from the network and Peek offered all its users a free, new replacement Peek 9 device to continue their service.
In 2011, Peek expanded their push email technology globally and now part of their "Genius Cloud" platform for low-cost featurephones.
On January 24, 2012, GSMA nominates Peek for the best cloud technology.
On January 30, 2012, Peek users reported their devices abruptly stopped working, despite having paid $299 for "lifelong service".
On February 1, 2012, Peek announced that it had terminated service for all its dedicated hardware in a move to cloud-only service. Peek's CEO, Amol Sarva stated that the abandoned products were "seriously old" and have reached their end of life, with only a "handful of users" left in the US. "Unfortunately we cannot maintain the network forever for a few users, so that end time has come. The networks are changing standards, protocols etc and the old units are now end of life. We have lots going with rapid adoption of our software by phone brands around the world, so Peek is flat out building for a number of platforms that our OEM customers are deploying like Android and Mediatek. We are not offering a Peek-made device to replace these old ones."
"Peek isn't in the hardware business anymore. Since last year, the company has been selling "the genius cloud," a series of services designed to make inexpensive feature phones smarter. Sarva notes that his product has just been nominated for the GSMA's Best Technology award which will be handed out at MWC later this month. He says that these services are the logical continuation of what Peek has been about since day one — "building smartphone features on ultra low cost platforms" — and that they're making huge inroads with the countless Chinese manufacturers who sell unbranded phones in emerging markets, many of whom are "feeding off Nokia's carcass."
- Peek company website
- Review: Peek puts email in your pocket and removes voices from your head - Boing Boing Gadgets review
- "Peek-ing at Your E-mail". Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- "Virgin phone service to reach U.S. shores". Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- Pogue, David (2008-09-11). "Nontechies, This one's for you". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- LaVallee, Andrew (November 3, 2009). "Peek's Twitter-Only Device Goes On Sale". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- Sakr, Sharif (2012-02-02). "Peek killing off US email and Twitter devices after 'lifelong service'". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- "How to hack-not hack the Peek". Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- "GeekyPeek Blog". Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- "GeekyPeek Blog". Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- "New York Hardware Buffs Weigh In On China, Embracing Niches, And How To Start Making Things". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "50 Best Invention of the Year 2008: Peek". Time. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- "Gadgets We Crave:Time For Simplicity". Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-31., myitplanet.de Archived June 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Dumas, Daniel (2008-09-02). "Review: Peek Device Delivers Peak Email Performance And Not Much Else". Wired. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- "This Mobile Device Only Does Email — Perfectly". Wired. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- "I.D. Annual Design Review". Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- "#%*@#! The top 10 tech 'fails' of 2009". CNN. 2009-12-23. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
- "Best and Worst Tech Gadgets of 2009". Bloomberg Businessweek. 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- "The 50 Worst Gadgets of the Decade". Gizmodo. December 23, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- "Peek 9 is 9 times faster". Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- "The Brand New Peek 9 Brings Apps, Facebook, Twitter, PeekMaps, RSS, Weather And A Generous Speed Bump". Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- "Massive Peek outage kills older peek devices". Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Chris Ziegler "Peek kills service for all customers: we talk with company CEO Amol Sarva".,  "The Verge", 2012-02-02