Would You Pay $199 for a Twitter-Only Device?
James Fallows and I have been e-sparring over my prediction that we continue to inch toward an all-in-one device with music listening, web browsing, phone calling, e-book reading, picture taking, and so on. Fallows' readers have weighed in with arguments for both sides. It seems to me that most readers agree with his assessment that the "Swiss Army Knife-ification" of technologies will advance somewhat like Zeno's Paradox, always approaching but never reaching the goal of an all-in-one device.
But I hope we can at least agree on this: A new $200 mobile device designed exclusively for Twitter and nothing more is a hilariously bizarre idea.
PC World has the goods:
Described as the world's first dedicated Twitter device, the TwitterPeek offers a QWERTY keyboard, color screen, and measures 2.7 x 0.4 x 4 inches. It was introduced on Tuesday and is not unattractive.
The $199 price includes a wireless service plan for the life of the device. A $99 price includes 6 months of service, which then costs $7.95-a-month thereafter. The always-on device promises four days of battery life "in normal use" and promises nationwide wireless coverage.
Well this certainly appears to be moving in the wrong direction. Smart phones like the iPhone and BlackBerry can already Tweet on-the-go and it's hard for me to imagine a large consumer base that wants to carry yet another phone-sized thing in their pocket. The PCW author writes that "there are products which seem to fulfill no real need [and] this is one of them." I would disagree slightly. This is a product that fulfills a need -- Tweeting on the go -- that millions of people have already. Who's going to buy this?