Here is news which is likely to excite only a few. US Cellular is releasing the ZTE Orbit, renamed the ZTE Render, on their network.
The CDMA handset, which is available to $179.99 with a $100 rebate on a two year contract sports the usual 4 inch WVGA screen, 1 Ghz processor, 5 megapixel camera and a 1,600 mAh battery, but only 4 GB storage and seems rather overpriced at that price.
If however you are stuck on US Cellular and desperate for a Windows Phone, the handset can be found on their website here.
The handset, rebranded â€œZTE V960Wâ€, is expected to cost around 1,250 CNY (198 USD), competing directly with the Nokia Lumia 610, which costs 1,600 CNY.
ZTE also has another Windows Phone in China, the ZTE Orbit, which features NFC. WPDang speculates that this handset may get a RAM cut to the low-end Tango spec of 256 MB to cut costs and make it more price competitive.
China has recently overtaken USA as the largest smartphone market, but remains extremely price sensitive, meaning if Windows Phone is to win any significant market share there it remains very important to compete on the low end.
Pocketnow have posted this brief look at the ZTE Orbit, ZTEâ€™s new low-end Windows Phone.
According to the information leaflet the phone is said to run Tango 2, which is said to be the version of Tango without the 256 MB limitations. Again according to the information leaflet (but not the actual device) the handset has 512 MB RAM and a 1Ghz processor, which of course elevates it above the Nokia Lumia 610, with its 800 Mhz processor and 256 MB RAM.
On the other hand the Lumia 610 has 8 GB of storage while the ZTE Orbit only has 4 GB, like the ZTE Tania.
The built quality is said to be somewhat less polished, with a plasticky feel, and the screen is said to have a poor viewing angle, much like the ZTE Tania.
Of course the handset is said to have a feature not present in even high end windows phones â€“ NFC, though no-one has seen this implemented yet.
It seems in the search for a low-end Windows Phone the choice will remain pretty complicated.
According to Computer World the ZTE Orbit Windows Orbit Windows Phone has a 4.0-inch WVGA screen, and a 5-megapixel camera, 512 MB RAM, 4GB of storage and a 1GHz Qualcomm processor.
The information has not been verified by anyone else yet, so we can not be sure it is not just a misinformed ZTE Rep. However we do know another Windows Phone, the LG Fantasy, does come with the technology built-in, even though we do not know the release date for that handset.
It is likely at this stage NFC support will be a custom implementation by the OEM rather than a native Windows Phone feature, but it is highly likely the next major version of Windows Phone will have this feature fully supported.
Update: Areamobile.de confirms the NFC and adds WIFI Direct and DLNA to the mix.