Peek coming under pressure from smartphones

Peek, the maker of low-cost, email-only devices, is cutting prices and facing pressure from smartphones and feature phones in a market where Apple's iPhone 3G now sells for just $99.

Peek launched its email devices last fall, but has since cut prices dramatically. The Peek Classic is now selling for just $19.95, down from $99.95 in September. Peek's other device, the Pronto, which receives email instantly and also allows for text messaging, is now selling for $59.95, down from $79.95 when it was released in March. Peek charges users $19.95 a month for unlimited email and text service through T-Mobile USA, and doesn't require a long-term contract.

The Peek devices are aimed at teens, small-business owners and moms who want email but don't want a Swiss Army knife, Peek CEO Amol Sarva told the Wall Street Journal. However, Peek is coming under pressure both from devices like the iPhone 3G that were once high-end products and have shifted to the mid-tier, as well as feature phones that offer Web access and Qwerty keyboards.

"Peek is going to have to do some significant work to ensure shelf placement or that shelf placement is fairly substantial," Yankee Group analyst Andy Castonguay told the Journal. Sarva said that Peek would not make devices that have voice capabilities, and would continue to focus on low-cost devices.   

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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