PeeKaWho and Aerize Email Alerts – Keep on Poppin!

By Ryan Blundell on 21 Oct 2008 09:47 am EDT
PeeKaWho and Email Alerts

You're browsing the web, beating your BrickBreaker high score, or perhaps organizing your Calendar when a message comes in. Your Berry vibrates or chirps a notification, that LED blinking red, urging - nay- seducing you into checking your inbox. Sound familiar? It should. I've been a victim of this many, many times. Is the message important enough to stray from the task at hand? The time has arrived for a solution, the ability to choose which is more important. Now as long as they can behave themselves, I would like to show you not one, but two poppin' applications; PeeKaWho and Aerize Email Alerts.

Both of these applications grant your Berry the ability to alert you of an incoming message via popups. Since these two applications are somewhat similar, why not have a side by side comparison? To really get into the popup mood, open the full review in a new window folks!

In Your Face!!

Okay, so here's the basic concept of both applications; No matter what you are doing on your Berry, a pop up window will appear with details of the latest message. The popup will display a contact picture (if applied in your address book), sender information, subject and either the preview of the message or the message in its entirety, depending on its size. In this popup you will be able to manage the message or close the window. Your profiles will remain unchanged, so rest assured that the Transformer Sound Effect used for my SMS Messages will still work.

Why Popups?

Why not? As I said before, there's been way too many times where an email has arrived (perhaps the one I've been anticipating) and I was in the middle of finishing an important task or entry in another application. Besides reviewing application after application, my Berry works overtime to keep me in contact with everybody, keep me organized and keep me entertained. I need to know if the new delivery to my inbox is more important than the task at hand. Why RIM hasn't introduced this type of solution before, I don't know. Now that I've tried these applications, I can't go back and dwell in the email darkness.

To be fair, I have covered the latest versions of each application. Time to take a look at the contenders...

PeeKaWho v1.160


PeeKaWho Settings

By Orion North America, who also bring you SmrtGuard (Simpson's reference?). The latest version of PeeKaWho will notify you of both incoming email and SMS messages. PeeKaWho is designed to generate a popup within any application, including the main screen. The popup will display a contact picture (if applied in your address book), name of contact, subject and the beginning of the email body. The application will start working for you upon download, there's no need to set up permissions. When you download you are prompted to choose the correct installation file. There is one file for OS 4.3 or higher, another for OS 4.2.1 and OS 4.2.2 and a third for OS 4.1 and OS 4.2.0.

When I received an email, PeeKaWho pops up a window displaying an image (or PeekaPic) from sender's address book entry, name or email address/mobile number, subject and message preview. Below the Email message, icons display your options; dismiss popup, go to inbox or delete. For the SMS Message, your options are dismiss and inbox. Deciding that the email is important enough to respond to immediately, select inbox and respond, forward or whatever usual steps you take. Close the inbox and you are taken right back to the application you were in when the popup first appeared.

If you're not happy with the way PeeKaWho functions, visit its options menu. Here, you can choose to view popups for Emails and/or SMS messages. You can also decide to disable "peekapics", when the popup will auto fade away or if popups will display when connected via USB. Lastly, in the options menu, you can set contact and application filters. Popups can be set up to appear for specific email addresses found in your address book. Popups can also be denied visibility while you are accessing the following applications; Home screen, phone, browser, message, memo, task calendar and media.

PeeKaWho can also generate a test popup so you can preview your selected preferences. There is a known issue with html emails with users using OS 4.5. PeeKaWho built their software on OS 4.1.0 and OS 4.2.1. Look for a version on OS 4.5 heading your way soon.

PeeKaWho further extends its usefulness by integrating the application FollowUp! which is a fantastic "ToDo" list. For more information on FollowUp! click here.

Email Alerts v1.0.2

Email Alerts

Email Alerts
Aerize Email Alerts Settings

From Aerize, Email Alerts promises to "Cure BlackBerry Jitters." Before getting started, you must set up permissions for Email Alerts (Options> Advanced Option> Applications> Aerize Alerts> Edit Permissions for those who aren't sure.) In order for the application to fully function, make sure you enable permissions for Email/messaging and PIM. You can customize the Email/SMS Popups display, including font size and body preview condensing. Aerize has included a popup preview option that will help you determine which display settings you prefer.

Besides being able to choose to see popups for email, SMS messages, or both, Aerize includes additional filters. Email Alerts can show popups for;

Anyone - friends, co-workers, family or strangers. All Email or SMS Messages will pop up. Other wise known as turning filters off.

Sender is contact - The sender's email address will be looked up for a match in your address book. If there's a match in the address book, a popup will appear. If not, the message will be found in your inbox.

Sender has picture - a popup will display only if the sender is found in your address book AND that contact has an assigned picture.

When the popup window is displayed, you will see some management options. For emails, you will see Ok (dismisses the message, Open, Mark Read and Delete. For SMS Messages, you will see Ok and Open. Email Alerts also sports an auto-dismiss feature, allowing you to select a time limit for the popup. You can extend the "timer" by moving the trackball, in case the popup is about to disappear. You can also choose to disable the auto-dismiss, and leave the power in your hands.

Head to Head

Both show popups for Email and SMS Messages. Both support images assigned to contacts. When multiple messages appear at once, both applications would support multiple popups. However, I found the two worked from opposite directions. Email Alerts would display the popups as they come in (first one first), where PeeKaWho displayed the newest message first. Keep this in mind when deciding which app you will choose, as there is no way to change this. Not taking manual popup dismissing into consideration, the display time is longer with PeeKaWho, though Email Alerts could extend its time by you moving the trackball...

Filtering works slightly different with both applications. Email Alerts filter by address book and image and PeeKaWho filters by email address (what, no SMS?) and application restriction.

As far as visual appeal goes, it's a tie. In a perfect world, I would love the layout of Email Alerts with the font of PeeKaWho. I found PeeKaWho much easier to use for two reasons;

1. PeeKaWho comes out of the gates, working and ready to pop. Email Alerts requires you to set permissions, and it took me TWO battery pulls and one soft reset for it to work properly.

2. Stability. I found Email Alerts slow to respond at times, and the display would sometimes freeze.

Free trials are available for both applications, though Email Alerts offer 7 days and PeeKaWho...only 2 days (boo...).

I popped until I dropped

Though both offer the ideal messaging solution for everyone, PeeKaWho is the winner in my eye. This is mainly due to ease of use and stability. PeeKaWho works upon download, no need to set permissions and pull batteries. This should be especially useful for rookie BlackBerry abusers. Email Alerts is visually more appealing, but as loyal readers may know, I'll take function over fashion any day. I would love to see both applications supporting BlackBerry messenger. Finally, there's the cost; PeeKaWho is available for $6.95 and Email Alerts for $10.00, both are found at the CrackBerry Store. Check out both applications and see which one is best for you (probably best to try them one at a time!.

Download Free Trials/Purchase

Pros & Cons

PeeKaWho Pros

  • FollowUp! integration
  • Deny popups in certain applications
  • Works upon download

PeeKaWho Cons

  • less visually appealing (with regards to layout)
  • Doesn't support BB Messenger

Email Alerts Pros

  • amazing layout
  • change font size
  • popup preview (useful when customizing the popup)

Email Alerts Cons

  • must set up permissions first
  • buggy
  • doesn't support BB Messenger

Reader comments

PeeKaWho and Aerize Email Alerts – Keep on Poppin!


Great, detailed review of both applications! I've used both and am currently running Email Alerts. The thing that made me switch was when PeekaWho changed the the buttons at the bottom of the alerts to icons. I really don't like em. But, I agree with you about Email Alerts being a little buggy. I've run into times where alerts are delayed and the whole first in, last displayed thing.

i dont know if it's just me, but ever since installing peekawho, i have repeatedly been having my phone shut off with an app 503 error. i deleted the app after the trial was over, wasnt in love with the visual of it (i need function PLUS fashion! lol), and then came across the free download of Aerize's app, and while i like it better visually than Peekawho, and seems to be working fine for me, my phone is still shutting off with the 503 error. Could it be a coincidence it started happening when i installed these apps? or is it BECAUSE of these apps? makes me sad...

anybody else have this problem?


I tried PeekaWho. With SMS popups switched on (which I want in general) on my network (T-Mobile UK) it ALSO sees voicemail notifications and cleardowns as incoming SMSs and pops up for those too. So I get two popup notifications (one from PeekaWho) when a voicemail comes in, and another from PeekaWho when the network clears the voicemail icon :-(

I would in general like to determine exceptions as well as inclusions on what causes a popup.

Would also be good if a way could be found to popup through a locked device (optionally).

There is another HUGE (IMHO) pro for PeekaWho that is left out of this review. FREE LIFE TIME UPGRADE! For me this is a really big deal. I hate it when software that I use on a regular basis upgrades from version 1.5 to 2.0 and I am expected to buy it a second time to get the latest and greatest. This should really be standard with most software anyway.

Great review, BTW.

I agree, but I did get aerize for free so I'm not too upset. ;-)

I bought Peekawho when it first came out for $3.45 (or something like that, 14% off).
I prefer Peekawho, but I'm going to use aerize until they update it to add mark as read. Since I got aerize for free, I'm ok.

Caused my curve to show the hourglass all the time. I also hated having to click ok, read, or del for each email. Peekawho is much better than Aerize.

Peeakawho is my choice as well. However, I would like to have the same features in this version 1.160 but with buttons.

Why is it that at the top of this post the PeekAWho is black with a slight transparency and the full purchased version is a simple gray ??? The black actually looks quite nice (transparency as well).

Follow up is great! Just email them. Last Friday I emailed them and they emailed me back in less than 2 hours with a new download link that have both apps in one!

they will charge you when you switch devices. I, like many of you will probaly get a storm, and what happens when your device becomes defective and you get a replacement unit??? They will charge you again for the software. I wish this wasn't so, because I really liked it. Anyways, I just now downloaded Email Alerts and emailed them to find out their policy on device changes.

Peekawho is the one that is buggy, it cant grab pictures or lookup contact names. Peekawho support is awfuul. Aerize didn't require properties when I ran it.

If you want to take the time to setup filters in PeekaWho, you have to redo them each time you install, and they have had a lot of bugs and releases. With only that in mind I chose Aerize.

Got Aerize Alerts when it came out, since they did pictures and PeeKaWho didn't. Tried ver 1.16 when they added pictures like aerize but it had problems, with the latest ver I am glad I chose Aerize.

with the latest version of peekawho, it also adds the ability of lighting up the display upon reciept of an email or sms. i used to have to use bblights in conjuction with peekawho in order to get this functionality. when the phone is out of holster sitting on my desk, the display will turn on with the receipt of the sms or email. there is a bug with the sms function and peekapic, but their support stated that they are working on it.

I actually prefer peekawho's look (with the icons) over aerize, minus the no-pic.

And, I do get pics and names when I get texts w/ peekawho.

I've tried them both and while I like that Email Alerts gives you more options in terms of address the pop up, mark unread, respond, etc... I had a few battery pulls before I could get it to work as the reviewer mentioned, and it still didn't work 100%.

PeekAWho worked immediately upon install on my 8820... now if they just offered more options besides dismiss popup, delete email and go to messages folder. I've love to be able to respond directly from the pop, open up the actual full message, mark it read etc... Hopefully that's coming in some update...

I've used both and they both have their hits and misses. Email Alerts has a great layout and a much cleaner look to me. I personally find the filters in Email Alerts much more convenient than that of PeeKaWho. Filtering based on the people in your address book or just those with pictures saves more time and makes more sense than having to add the contacts one by one. Problem is, I noticed the alert windows on Email Alerts do show up slower than PeeKaWho and at times do crash.
PeeKaWho is more dependable but besides the filters and having a less aesthetically pleasing format (in my opinion), my main gripe with it is that it has trouble connecting phone numbers and contacts for SMS popups under some carriers (like mine - T-Mobile in USA). The reason is that some carriers add an extra numerical 1 to the front of the phone numbers. Because of this, all SMS popups on phones running under said carriers will just show the phone number in the From field (and as a result, no contact picture). This is the main reason I'm currently using Email Alerts. They are working on fixing it really soon in an upcoming update (not to mention Messenger integration) and when that happens, I believe I will be switching back to PeeKaWho.

I got Email Alerts for free so that's what I use...but the PeekaWho trial never worked properly for me. I don't mind Email Alerts- I just wish two things: 1, it didn't hang up my screen and 2- when you hit "delete" that it would either prompt you or give you the option in it's options to delete on handheld and server!

I have been using PeeKaWho now for a few weeks and I must say I love it!!! It was not only easy to install, but I could change any of the settings I wanted. Works great no matter what application you are in from browsing the web to playing BrickBeaker you now know who is emailing you so you know if it is important enough to quit the application you are in so you can read the email.

I would highly recommend this application to any BB user (especially the new ones!!!!)!!!!

PeekaWho seems to conflict with BB Alerts. It overrides the LED colour codes. For example, when set purple for SMS with PeekaWho it just shows the standard red led. I agree that it is a little more stable than Email Alerts.

I tried both and I prefer Peekawho, because of stability and performance.

What I really miss is mark as read option and the ability to use text buttons instead of icons.

The only thing that really annoys me is that it looses all the settings including activation after every upgrade. Not to mention that you can't even copy/paste the activation number..

Thanks for the thoughtful review. Only yesterday I contemplated the exact problem you described above: While browsing the web, the annoyance of incoming messages making you nervous as hell. And voila, here is the solution. Crackberry rules.

Peekawho kind of solves a comparable problem as Spinvox (I am not associated in any way with them) for me, a service which converts voice mail into text messages. Great when sitting through a meeting where you can't answer the phone. Spinvox notifies you 2-3 minutes after someone left a message on your voicemail via email or SMS, and transcribes the message in astonishingly great quality into text.

I tried both apps as well, and had issues with both.

I found PeekAWho to be the less buggy one, but I ended up deleting both apps and my beloved Curve is back to normal again :)

They're both definitely a really neat idea. I'll be keeping an eye out for updates and will be willing to give 'em another spin in the future. For now I can live without them.

With all due respect to your review . . .

I was one of the recepients of the free 90 copies of Aerize email alerts the other day . . . installed it without any of the reboots or option settings that you spoke of. A matter of fact while reading your review I went to advanced options to see if it was set properly; didn't know that there were even settings there - but they had automatically been properly configured. So if that was your major knock against them, that should re-balance the score.

I am not sure if Aerize is slowing down my BB; still trying to make that determination, but I love having to know exit everything to find out that I received a fw joke email.

Also, found out that I can exit alerts by hitting the esc key as opposed to trying to select a button; saves a lot ot time.

Well, I didn't have to do a battery pull, but I did have to set permissions (and later had to do a bp anyway).

I have an 8130, and bought Peekawho yesterday, still can't get my SMS popups to work...Emailed support...Disappointed thus far.

Everything works great on my 8130 Berry with PeekaWho. Very happy with it.
Wish you could open a message besides going to the inbox.

I've been happy with PeeKaWho thus far. It's simple to use and it saves me time while completing tasks on your BB device. I recommend this program to anyone who doesn't want to be bothered with checking their inbox every time they receive an e-mail.

I test drove Aerize, and it's a convenient application.

I uninstalled it because Aerize froze my BlackBerry 8310 Curve multiple times when I received emails or SMS messages.

The scenario is I'm composing an email to my distribution list on my Curve:

1) Email comes in.
2) I get an alert plus a red light from my phone.
3) My phone freezes; my keyboard doesn't work nor does the trackball.
4) I wait 15 seconds to one minute for Aerize to send me a pop-up message notifying me that I have an email.
5) Aerize sends me the pop-up message, and I click on Aerize's "OK" button.
6) Aerize's pop-up message goes away.
7) My phone unfreezes, and I'm able to continue with composing my email or whatever application I was working on.

Extremely frustrating!

I love that no matter what I"m doing, I can see who's emailing many times I'm in an application and then I see the flashing it's a pain to have to exit out to check the messages all the time.

I also like that the senders picture (if I have it stored) pops up with the notification!

PeekaWho application is pretty darn good but still needs some work.The conflict with Blackberry alerts isn't a good one to say the least.
PeekaWho user interface is slick , pop up work well with no lag freeze sessions on device.
I found there customer care to have a couple speed bumps with activation code not working and when swap code was needed for device replacement.
They did step up , supplied me what was needed so app could be enjoyed.

What PeekaWho needs,
Fix activation code server , Fix there Blackberry Alerts bug , Sharper customer care.


Aerize application works with Blackberry alerts app very smoothly yet not with my Device.Its user interface looks ok yet needs some spark.
Device freeze is a common occurrence with auto pop dismiss lag , screen freeze to be a big problem , burns some memory space which is more then likely caused by application memory leak.
Its very disappointing that app basics haven't been figured out about earning respect with app performance first then charge $10.00 for it ,it only seems fare.

Activation Code server was problem free , I haven't contacted there customer care on getting updated activation code so have no comment on that right now but will very soon.

What Aerize needs ,
A application that works! , Aerize has lots of work to do.

Aerize released new build v1.1.0 today 10/30/08
It appears they finally got some problems worked out.
Pop up dismiss is fixed
No more device freeze sessions
Memory leak seems to be fixed , I sent my self over 50 messages with no issue.
Good Job Aerize.


UPDATE 10/30/08

Both apps are young , have there ups and downs f,sure.
PeekaWho has a great future ahead yet needs to work out
there BB alerts issue.
Aerize has came through with a solid app all the way around in V1.1.0.

Both apps are great worth the money.
At this point Aerize gets my vote

Once again , Good job Aerize

Phil C