Apple’s iPod touch lets committed Android owners flirt with iOS

It’s been nearly two weeks since Apple introduced the iPhone 5 and by nearly all measures, the launch seems to be a success: 5 million sales over the first weekend and current demand outstripping supply. That’s continued good news for Apple(s aapl), which may be earning more profit on some iPhone 5 models over last year’s phone. But the unsung hero at Apple’s iPhone launch — at least in my eyes — is the new iPod touch, which hasn’t seen much of an upgrade since 2010.

How impressed am I with the new iPod touch? So much so that I sold my iPhone 4S; I’ve already ported the number away to the Straight Talk SIM card in my Galaxy Nexus and the sale price is enough to pay the early termination fee and put about $100 towards the 32 GB iPod touch I pre-ordered. And of course, there’s no monthly fee to use the iPod touch, which is a Wi-Fi only device. Just cutting my bills wasn’t the real impetus, however.

Meeting my needs for work and play

Objectively covering the mobile scene on a full-time basis means I really need devices for all of the major platforms, including the up-and-coming ones as well. So I have multiple Android(s goog) devices, had an iPhone 4S (and still have a current model iPad), own an older Windows Phone(s msft) handset and even have a Symbian device floating around. I’ll likely consider a BlackBerry 10 handset when they arrive next year if my budget allows and for now, I still have a BlackBerry PlayBook to keep tabs on RIM(s rimm).

Even though my needs are atypical, I know there are a number of folks that do want to use more than one mobile platform. And why not? I stand by the idea of using whatever devices best suit your needs, regardless of what’s hip, trendy or popular. For me, Android is best, mainly because I’m deeply embedded in Google’s services for both work and personal use. A stock Android device is optimal in that case. Apple’s iOS has benefits too; particularly for my gaming and content consumption needs, and that’s where the iPod touch comes in.

What’s so great about the new iPod touch?

Like the last generation iPod touch, the new one mimics its iPhone counterpart in many ways. This year’s model includes the exact same display as the iPhone 5, complete with integrated touch panel and vibrant screen at 1136 x 640 pixels. I was impressed when looking at this screen in an AT&T(s t) store earlier this week; it’s excellent and probably one of the biggest improvements in the device. Besides, I’ve been suggesting that Apple move to a 4-inch display on the iPhone for nearly two years; now that it’s here, I can get it in the touch.

Stack of iPod touches

Om touted the benefits of the iPod touch’s updated camera and imaging capabilities earlier this month and although I don’t take as many pictures as others, I’m looking forward at trying the new 5 megapixel shooter. I’m also an avid FaceTime user — my wife and son have iOS products — so the new iSight camera on the front of the iPod touch will come in handy, as will the integrated LED flash. Compared to my new iPad, the iPod touch won’t be as fast, but it does use the same chip found in the iPhone 4S, so from a performance standpoint, I’m sure my needs will be met.

I’m already used to Siri — particularly for adding reminders — on my iPad and old iPhone 4S, so Siri’s inclusion is welcome. And now that we have 75 Mbps FiOS service in the house, I’m sure the faster Wi-Fi in that new iPod touch will come in handy too. I’ll use the new Bluetooth 4.0 support for both wireless headphones as well as the Wahoo Blu Heart Rate monitor I bought earlier this year.

So what’s missing besides that monthly bill I used to have? GPS and mobile broadband are the two big standouts, but I don’t care about the latter. My Android phone works as a Wi-Fi hotspot as needed with no extra charge. Technically, I’m not supposed to use the function with my service plan, but occasional use in the past hasn’t earned me a hand slap from my carrier yet. And the same holds true for GPS; both my phone and my tablet have the radio, so I don’t need it in my iPod touch, which will always be a secondary device.

This works both ways, and that’s OK

Ironically, those embedded deeply in the iOS camp with some Android curiousity could do the same as me, but in reverse. An iPhone 5 paired with a Samsung Galaxy Player, for example, would accomplish the same. The Galaxy Player is similar to an iPod touch — I’m sure that doesn’t surprise –as it’s a Wi-Fi handheld running Android without a 3G or 4G radio.

Again, you may not need or want multiple devices, but for what I do, Apple’s iPod touch is a solid-looking iOS device without the monthly bill of an iPhone. Am I cheating on my Android with an iPod touch? Maybe, but I like to look at is as being married to Android with a little harmless iOS flirting on the side.