Overland Park, Kan. - Second- and third-generation iPod Touches will get 3G cellular-data capability with Sprint's Nov. 14 launch of ZTE's Peel, a battery-powered cradle with embedded Wi-Fi and 3G.
The $79.99 Peel communicates to the Touch via Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, enabling the Touch to access Sprint's 3G network via the Peel's embedded CDMA 1X EV-DO Rev. 0 modem. The Peel is packaged with a $29.99 monthly service plan, allowing up to 1GB of 3G data usage with no annual contract.
Consumers slide the Touch into the Peel, press down on both sides until it clicks into place, then press the power button located on the Peel's back side to launch 3G service.
The cradle doesn't grip the first-generation or fourth-generation Touches because they are slimmer than the models in the other generations, but first- and fourth-gen Touches will access Sprint's 3G network as long as they are within 20 feet of the cradle, a spokesperson told TWICE.
Although the Peel makes it possible for the Touch to access the Internet without depending on Wi-Fi availability, it doesn't turn the Touch into a full-fledged iPhone because the Peel lacks cellular voice capability. Nonetheless, with the fourth-generation Touch, consumers could use the Touch's front-facing camera and microphone to make 3G FaceTime video-chat calls to Wi-Fi-equipped fourth-generation Touches and to the iPhone 4. For earlier generation Touches upgraded to the iOS 4.0 operating system, consumers could use a headphone and Skype app to accept incoming Skype calls via 3G, not just via Wi-Fi.
The Peel, which also connects a second Wi-Fi device to Sprint's 3G network, "is compatible with the iPod touch but has not been endorsed or sponsored by Apple Inc.," Sprint noted in a prepared statement.
The Peel will be available Nov. 14 through Sprint's direct channels, including Sprint-owned stores, telesales and the carrier's website. The carrier didn't say whether the Peel would also be available through third-party retailers.