I have in my hands (well, that’s my 9-year-old daughter’s hand shown, actually) the cutest little appliance: The Peek. It is a cell-phoned sized device that does nothing but email. If you are already carrying a Blackberry, Treo, Sidekick or other smart phone, you are probably shaking your head right now and asking, “Why?”

You are not why. And neither am I, probably.

My mother is why. (Though she might have to get out her super-powerful glasses to see those little keys and read the petite screen.)

That mother I interviewed recently who was complaining about not being able to check her email because her kids were always using the family computer? She is why.

Anyone for whom firing up the computer to check email is a chore rather than an obsession might like to have that email pushed to something that fits in her purse or shirt pocket. Or maybe you don’t want to carry a laptop on vacation just to keep up with email? If you have a cell phone but don’t want to spring for an upgrade and an expensive data plan to get mobile email on it, this might be an alternative for you, too.

It comes in several cute colors and is actually smaller than many cell phones—thinner anyway. (It weighs 4 ounces.) You can pick one up at Target (they launched on Monday of this week) for $99 and a service plan of $20 a month for unlimited email. (No contract.) And, unlike many cell phones, the Peek will work with whatever personal email address you have. It doesn’t work with those corporate email addresses you need an IT person to manage. (The Blackberry is serving those folks very nicely already.) It works for the rest of us: Just about any POP or IMAP email address, which most likely includes yours. There is a cute little search on the company site that will tell you if your email address will work with Peek or not. But don’t believe everything it says.

That little search told me that my hosted (Christina [at] geekgirlfriends [dot] com) email address was not familiar. But Amol from Peek told me it should work fine. So I persisted and called the number that popped up in case I should need help. I had a very pleasant conversation about my email configuration and ten minutes later, email was arriving in my pocket at a steady rate. (Well, I had to wait an hour for changes to take affect.) Pretty neat.

Be sure and check out the giveaway I announced yesterday! This isn’t one you want to miss.