Will the new iPod touch increase Android sales?

Sep 9, 2010
Tech

Yes, that headline sounds odd but if you’re a geek who can’t decide between a new iPhone or an Android phone, the new Ipod touch solves your problems. A simple choice I need a new mobile phone and the choice has become increasingly perplexing. In my view, unless you must have an iPhone, you can […]

Yes, that headline sounds odd but if you’re a geek who can’t decide between a new iPhone or an Android phone, the new Ipod touch solves your problems.

A simple choice

I need a new mobile phone and the choice has become increasingly perplexing. In my view, unless you must have an iPhone, you can now pick a smartphone based on the wireless carrier with the best arrangement for your needs. That includes cost, coverage and, of course, product. With the introduction of quality Android phones this year at each of the major carriers, this process has eased significantly.

The iPhone, still, is only at AT&T (that will change within two years, not in January) so if you don’t want AT&T for whatever reason and lust for an iPhone, here’s what you do: Buy the new iPod touch. It’s always been just like the iPhone, minus the phone, but the new version of the iPod touch includes a front-and-rear cameras for video calls, a decent speaker for Internet-based phone calls, and, as David Pogue points out in a review, “using a free app like TextFree, you can send all the text messages you like without paying the phone company anything.”

The iPod touch, now arriving in stores, starts at $229, only $30 more than a $199 iPhone. Of course, that iPhone will cost you close to $100 a month to operate. So the best of both worlds (and the one that reasonably keeps the tech geek satiated) is to buy the iPod touch and choose among a number of really good Android phones at whichever carrier you prefer. (And the Android hits keep coming! The Samsung Fascinate goes on sale at Verizon today while T-Mobile just announced that the speedy G2 will be available later this month.)

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Unfortunately, the camera in the iPod touch is not very good, Pogue notes. The back camera is good for high-def video but overall the “cameras aren’t as good as the iPhone’s excellent 5-megapixel camera with flash; the Touch’s photos aren’t even a single megapixel, and there’s no flash,” he writes.

On the whole, the new iPod touch remains the cream of the crop when it comes to the iPod line-up. It’s a great gaming machine, a music player and app powerhouse. It’s even slimmer than its predecessor. That means you can drop it into your pocket or purse alongside an Android phone, a great pairing for the uber-geek.

The iPod nano lacks

Regarding another one of the new iPods, Pogue had a mixed opinion of the completely redesigned iPod nano. It is very small but controlled only by touch. (The iPod nano doesn’t allow for apps, however. This is a music machine.) “The touch screen is smooth as silk, quick to respond, and crazy fun to use. So much fun, in fact, that you may completely miss how inefficient it really is,” he writes. “In lists, only three song or album names at a time fit on that tiny screen.”

The other major drawback is that Apple took away the video camera built into the previous nano. We shall see if that omission was a wise move for Apple, as recording video was a nice gimmick that helped retain the nano’s appeal among its teen customers. I’m anxious to get my hands on one, regardless.

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The only iPod that didn’t get a face lift is the iPod classic. This big-capacity model still looks very similar to the original iPod, introduced in 2001. For true music fans who want all their music with them, it’s the way to go. But will it last much longer in Apple’s line-up? I don’t think so.

iOS 4.1 hacked

Apple released the iOS 4.1 software upgrade and hackers have already found a way to ‘jailbreak’ the operating system. This one may be tough for Apple to close, as the “exploit targets such a low-level part of the operating system, Apple won’t be able to stop jailbreakers without making significant hardware changes.”

For people happy to run their iPhone the way Apple intended, the iOS 4.1 update includes the new Game Center software for multiplayer gaming. For shutterbugs, there are some nice improvements to the camera software that should make folks happy as well.

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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