ZTE's 'Peel' has zest for profits

By Shen Jingting and Tuo Yannan (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-10 07:50
Large Medium Small

BEIJING - Sources at ZTE Corporation, a leading Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker, have confirmed the ZTE Peel sleeve for the iPod Touch will debut in the United States on Sunday.

A source at ZTE declined to reveal details about the launch of ZTE Peel, but said an official press release will be issued in the US by the telecom operator Sprint Nextel on Friday.

"We have signed agreements with our US partners, and we are not allowed to leak information before they (Sprint) release an official announcement," the source told China Daily.

A few months ago, Yosion Technology, a Chinese IT company, developed a sleeve for the iPod Touch, in which is embedded an Infineon GSM radio and battery pack to enable the device to function as a normal iPhone. The company named its product "Apple Skin 520", with a price tag of around $78.

Apple Skin 520 enables iPod Touch users to access phone calls and text messages, but it does not support WIFI or other data-access functions. However, users have to "jailbreak" their iPod Touch by downloading non-Apple software before they can use it.

ZTE's Peel has solved those connectivity problems as its 3G-and-WIFI-enabled sleeve will allow customers to browse the Internet from their iPod Touch, use other data-centric applications, and may possibly even enable access to phone calls, according to some foreign media reports.

Last Friday the US blogger, Boy Genius Report, revealed that ZTE was cooperating with Sprint to bring the Peel sleeve to US clients on Nov 14. On Monday it followed up the earlier report, telling readers, "we've got cold hard evidence to confirm" ZTE Peel will indeed hit the market on the specified date, and will retail for $79.99.

Sprint will provide Peel customers with a plan costing $29.99 a month that will include a 1 gigabyte data allowance. Anyone exceeding that allowance will be billed at 5 US cents per megabyte, according to Boy Genius Report. The Peel supports Apple's second and third-generation iPod Touch, but not the fourth-generation hardware released in September.

China Daily

(China Daily 11/10/2010 page13)