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The iPhone 3G joins the first-generation iPhone and iPod touch models as the only iOS-based devices that cannot access Game Center. But there is key difference: the iPhone 3G can run iOS 4, while the first-generation iPhone and iPod touch are locked out of the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system.
Apple confirmed the compatibility of the new Game Center application on its website this week. The company also on Tuesday reset all Game Center accounts that had been registered by developers testing the golden master of Apple's forthcoming iOS 4.1 update, expected to be released on Wednesday.
Game Center's compatibility with the second-generation iPod touch is a change from last month, when a beta build of iOS 4.1 excluded both it and the iPhone 3G.
The exclusion of the iPhone 3G, but not the second-generation iPod touch, is noteworthy because both devices run similar internal hardware, in terms of game playing abilities. Though the devices were both introduced in 2008, the second-generation iPod touch has a slightly faster processor (532MHz vs. 412MHz) than the iPhone 3G. That same iPod touch was sold as an entry-level $199 offering until last week, when Apple introduced an all-new lineup, with the base $229 model sporting the same A4 processor as the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 3G was also sold this year on contract for $99, but the handset was discontinued when the iPhone 4 launched. Now, last year's iPhone 3GS sells at the entry $99 price point.
After iOS 4 was released, iPhone 3G users reported a significant performance hit when upgrading from iOS 3. Apple pledged that the forthcoming 4.1 update would address some of those issues, and tests with the golden master have shown considerable improvements when running the hardware first released in 2008.