The Peek9 is a very simple device: sort of a smartphone for people who don’t want a smartphone. It does text-based e-mail, Facebook status updates, and Twitter, and text messages for a price that’s a lot cheaper than mobile data plans. Reader KellyAnne bought a Peek Pronto with lifetime service, which was then transferred to a Peek9 in 2010 when all Peek Prontos mysteriously stopped working. Now that lifetime is up. It appears that all Peek hardware has stopped working, and KellyAnne can’t get her e-mail and has no idea what’s going on.
I bought a Peek Pronto from Peek Inc about two years ago. back in October 2010, Peek upgraded to a new product Peek9 and everyone’s Peek Pronto fried. We were all offered Peek9s for $1 and I took advantage since I had paid for the $300 lifetime subscription. Over the last two days I couldn’t get any email on the device. I couldn’t add a new email. Their websites are all down. (www.getpeek.com and http://www.peek9.com). The customer service number has been disconnected and the email bounces. WTF?
I see on their Twitter account that all it’s “End of an era. The old Peek hardware is now 100% offline”. Well, wtf? I did get an email after I saw that. With a “sorry to report that”. Uh…. Apparently, the forums have been removed and I can’t even find another person who has one to find out what’s going on. Help?
KellyAnne isn’t the only person who still owns a Peek-a few Engadget readers do, too. They got a statement from Peek CEO Amol Sarva. It’s not another outage. The old Peek devices have been permanently shut down. Yes, the terms of service allow for this, but that doesn’t make it any less abrupt and obnoxious.
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.
Well, okay, but why shut down so abruptly? Users like KellyAnne who bought the $300 Peek Pronto service bundle have had more than two years to enjoy their service. The thing is, no one seems to have heard anything about the shutdown until after it already happened. Peek’s own blog explained why they were ending service on Februrary 1st in a post made on February 2nd. They wrote:
Believe it or not a few people were still using regular old Original Peeks until the end of January, and unfortunately that service is now offline. Not really possible to continue supporting the old September 2008 Peek service. (We launched Peek in September 2008 and are end of lifing on Feb 1, 2012. Compare to the other famous phone platform that launched in September 2008 — T-Mobile’s Google G1, EOL Jul 2010.)
In the case of the G1, end of life meant that T-Mobile stopped selling the phone. They didn’t shut down their whole network and delete the user forums.
People like to laugh at Peek, especially their Twitter-only device. Back in 2009, our gizmo-testing friends down the hall at Consumer Reports declared the TwitterPeek the “epic fail of the week.” Gizmodo’s headline called the device “so dumb it makes my brain hurt” and imagined a variety of other single-use and largely useless Peeks.