New iPod just a touch short of my nirvana

CNET's Ina Fried says that for folks who wanted an iPhone without having to switch their cell phone, the iPod Touch is darn near perfect. It is missing a few things that are found on the iPhone, however.

Ina Fried/CNET Networks

The new iPod Touch is like an iPhone for commitment-phobes.

You get nearly all the features of the iPhone, but no need to change cell carriers or fork over money to AT&T each month. The new iPod Touch had nearly everything I was hoping for (Wi-Fi, Web browsing and the touch screen).

To my immense embarrassment, I actually found myself cheering when the browser was announced. I was already planning on buying the thing, but was really hoping to augment my Treo's stellar e-mail with a device that can do real Web browsing.

Still, it's worth pointing out that there are a few things found only on the iPhone.

In addition to the obvious phone part, the iPod Touch also lacks the iPhone's dedicated e-mail program or its Google Maps application. Of course, you can get e-mail and maps over the web (either the full version or lite mobile varieties). I checked Gmail briefly on the iPod Touch and it appeared to work fine, though it's not nearly as convenient as the approach on the iPhone.

For those who also think they can make voice calls using VoIP, hold the phone--the Touch doesn't have the speaker and microphone of the iPhone. Of course, one could use the headphones to hear and, if Apple permits, add a microphone via the dock connector port at the bottom.

Still, this is basically what all the fan sites were clamoring for. Now we'll see if they all put their money where their photoshopped images are. I'm planning to.

That's just my take from a very brief trial. Check back to CNET later today for reviewer Donald Bell's First Take on the iPod Nano and the rest of the new crop.

Update: I missed a big thing that the iPhone has that the iPod Touch lacks. It also lacks the iPhone's the built-in camera.

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