Peek 9 is nine times faster than Pronto, adds PeekMaps, weather, Twitter, and Facebook

It's official. The latest Peek -- dubbed the Peek 9 -- is up and dancing with a full list of features. The hubbub boils down to speed improvements thanks to revamped software that claims to reduce lag and sluggishness experienced when connecting to newly enhanced Peek servers. While the hardware appears unchanged, it's still said to offer better reception and be 9 times faster (hence the name) than the Peek Pronto. The 9 comes pre-loaded with native Twitter and Facebook apps with ActiveSync support tossed in for Exchange. They've also added PeekMaps and weather apps to give you an idea of where you are in Google Maps and what the weather forecast is for that location. Rounding things out is the Streams RSS reader; the ability to view Word, PDF, and spreadsheet attachments; and a new Peektop Apps feature that lets you transform Peek into a "tailor-made mobile productivity machine," whatever that means. Peak 9 is priced at $69.99 or $99.99 plus two months of contract-free service (sorry, no lifetime service offering at the moment). After that, the Peek service will cost you $19.95/mth or as little as $9.95/mth for 24 months. Of course, with the 9's broader communications focus beyond just Twitter or eMail, we really have to wonder why anyone would buy this instead of a much smarter featurephone -- a Nokia C3, for example, can be had in the US unlocked for just $129.%Gallery-102788%