Peek's New 'Pronto' Messaging Gadget To Sell At Amazon, Radio Shack

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NYC-based Peek got a lot of attention last year for its cheap, no-frills, no-contract email device, which it sold at Target (and online) over the holidays. Now it’s back with a second gadget with some significant improvements under the hood: The Peek Pronto goes on sale today exclusively (for two weeks) at Amazon (AMZN), and next month at select Radio Shack (RSH) stores.

What’s new with the Peek Pronto?

  • Real-time “push” email like you’d expect from a BlackBerry.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) Exchange compatibility.
  • About 50% faster.
  • Unlimited email and text messaging for $20/month.

Like the old Peek, it runs on T-Mobile’s nationwide network but has no long-term contracts. It’ll start at $80.

What’s the point? A simple email and text messaging device without contracts for people who already have a mobile phone they like, don’t want to buy a BlackBerry or an iPhone, or want to keep their work mail separate from their personal mail.

When Peek first launched last fall, we were sceptical that people would want to spend nearly the same amount of money on a Peek and its service as they would for a smartphone, which would also offer Web access. (The Peek doesn’t.)

But while Peek CEO Amol Sarva declines to divulge sales figures so far, it sounds like business is good. A price cut and tons of mainstream press have likely helped. And we suppose cheap, simple, and commitment-free aren’t bad features to have these days.

Peek has also inspired a small community of gadget/hacker-types, who are putting together numerous email-based applications for Peek, including a RSS service, news, weather, etc. Peek and Xtify, a location-based services startup, are currently sponsoring a developers challenge with a $2,500 cash prize.

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