Image: iPod Touch encased in ZTE Peel cellular device
For $80 up front plus $30 per month, Sprint customers can add the carrier's wireless network to their 2nd- and 3rd-generation iPod Touch portable media device. With the right apps, it can even be used to make calls.
By Wilson Rothman
updated 11/10/2010 2:52:27 PM ET 2010-11-10T19:52:27

It's a great idea: Sprint, a carrier that probably won't be selling a real iPhone anytime soon, can sorta deliver one to its customers by selling a case that connects an iPod Touch to the carrier's 3G network.

And that's just what the ZTE Peel does. It wraps around the iPod and creates a secure Wi-Fi network that the Touch links to. For $80 up front and then $30 per month, that is. (No contract, though!) Another speed bump: It only works on older iPod Touches, not the ones Apple currently is selling.

OK, so it's got pricing and compatibility issues, and it's pretty bulky, since it packs its own battery that you have to remember to recharge. But let's look at the bright side! If you go in on this, you will be able to fool at least some people into thinking you have an iPhone. And if you need help with that, you're in luck, because Lifehacker just updated their definitive guide to converting an iPod Touch into a phone. More from Sprint here.

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