Can Twitter Replace Your Phone?

Without question, 2009 was the year of the “Tweet.” The site’s streamlined presentation, to-the-minute updates, and easy interaction made it the go-to site for news, useless banter between friends, and celebrity stalking. Many Urbane readers can likely recall moments in which they were conversing with someone on their Twitter timeline, despite their ability to call or text each other personally.

But can Twitter replace your cell phone? Manufacturers of the new TwitterPeek (click here) are banking on the idea that it’s possible.

TwitterPeek is a collaboration between Twitter and the makers of the Peek mobile e-mail device. The premise of the new device is simple: for a one-time fee, users can utilize all of Twitter’s functions with nationwide coverage through cell-phone towers. Many will balk at the idea of a product dedicated to Twitter, when cell phones can already access the program. And most new devices multitask as a communication tool, organizer, media player and more; people will not want to lug around an extra gadget in their pockets or purses. In the minds of some would-be buyers, TwitterPeek is simply unnecessary.

But the sole existence of TwitterPeek raises interesting points. With the way that text messaging has lifted off, many cell phone users are speaking to each other with their thumbs. And with TwitterPeek, they can either speak to each other on the public timeline, or privately with Twitter’s direct messaging function. Instead of e-mailing photos to your friends, send them via TwitPic; and though the device sadly doesn’t have a browser now, its web site insists that TwitterPeek will add software to let users preview links. And while cell phone’s applications have limits on how you can use Twitter, TwitterPeek gets rid of such limits: users can send and receive an infinite amount of tweets and direct messages.

Most importantly, if you buy the TwitterPeek with a lifetime service plan, users won’t have to pay any monthly fees. Even if the device doesn’t replace one’s cell, it can still get rid of the pesky text messaging and data costs from their monthly phone bills, provided all or most of one’s friends use Twitter. The TwitterPeek is $199.99 with this plan; and if you pay an extra $50 per month for its nearly equivalent Twitter features, this could pay itself off in four months. So with communication usage and financial perks in the equation, getting rid of your cell phone for Twitter may not sound like a bad idea.

How much do you use Twitter for personal communication, and how much do you use it for the latest news? How much do you find yourself texting your friends or colleagues instead of calling them on the phone? Would you substitute $600 a year in texting and data fees (12 months x $50) for a one-time fee of $200 to use a mobile Twitter device, or would you rather stick with the plans you pay already?

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  • Brandon

    I really don’t get who’s going to buy this — if you can get it on your smart phone, well, who but the super-addicted Twitter types are going to go for it?

  • Ken

    I’m hopeful that phone numbers can go away all together. We could get a unique identifier (like the Twitter @ symbol) and then that would call on a master database to make the call.

    This device is cool, but I agree with Brandon, with so many multi-functional devices out there I can’t see how it will be popular to fly Twitter solo.

  • AJ

    I’m doing loads of reading on this and you’ve answered a few questions., you’ve answered a few of my questions and I am thankful.