Sprint has finally made its ” ZTE Peel” case-technology official after almost 6 months of rumors. The Peel is essentially a protective case for the 2nd or 3rd generation iPod Touch that connects to Sprint’s 3G network and converts the data into a Wi-Fi signal to be used by the iPod Touch itself.
The ZTE Peel case will be available November 14th for $80 and uses a $30/month plan from Sprint that allows up to 1GB of data use, no long-term contract required.
Sprint will be doing a huge favor for all the parents who are hesitant to buy their teenager an iPhone (plus contract). An iPhone (2-year) contract ranges anywhere from $75-$120, plus the cost of the phone itself. Certainly not cheap, but for most teens, it’s the hottest gadget available.
The Peel case lets those irritated parents buy an 8GB iPod Touch for $229 and outfit it with a $30 per month, no-contract data plan. Their happy teen can send text messages to all the other teens by selecting any of a multitude of text messaging apps available from the App Store and, in a pinch, make cheap phone calls with Skype
The ZTE Peel can support up to two other Wi-Fi devices, a feature for which AT&T charges $20 per month on the iPhone. Oh, and it’s on Sprint, which in many cities has more reliable service than AT&T.
Unfortunately, the case only supports the second and third generation iPod Touch, not the recent fourth-gen. An encased iPod Touch also suffers from reduced battery life (about 5-6 hours of 3G time).
The future is bright for all the parents who aren’t looking forward to expensive monthly contracts for their kids, and the ZTE Peel has the potential to be upgraded incredibly well. For example, a a fourth-gen iPod Touch using a case that supports Sprint’s 4G WiMax network would behold an amazingly fast experience. If you’re looking to evolve your basic 2nd or 3rd generation iPod Touch into a more well-rounded, iPhone like device, Sprint’s ZTE Peel should be a relatively cheap catalyst to take your iPod to the next level.