Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation (or ZTE) is the fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, and they have some pretty nice phones out there in the market. They’ve got some famous Android phones like the ZTE Blade and the company was in the news recently for a phone called ZTE Athena which when launched would supposedly be the thinnest smartphone in the world. They also make some good Windows Phone devices, and one such modest device from them is the ZTE Render. The Render was launched back in February and is also called as ZTE Orbit.
For all the Windows Phone fans on US Cellular, ZTE Render is now available on US Cellular. Yes, the timing seems a bit odd, but U.S. Cellular has always maintained a lean lineup of Windows Phone devices. Customers of U.S. Cellular never really had options when it came to Windows Phone platform because the carrier has been offering just a single Windows Phone handset from HTC. Well, that’s changed now, but it’s a late realization nevertheless.
The device itself is cheap. It will cost $179 on a two year agreement and is coupled with a $100 mail-in rebate, so technically $79 is the effective price. For this price, you will be getting a device which is equipped with 4 inch WVGA screen, 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 (MSM7627A) processor, 5MP auto-focus camera, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and will be booting Windows Phone 7.5 Tango.
Yes, that’s right, it will be running Windows Phone 7.5. It’s perhaps a bad timing for inclusion of such a device when the next gen mobile operating system from Microsoft, the Windows Phone 8, is right around the corner.
Microsoft has already made it clear that current Windows Phone 7.5 devices won’t be receiving upgrade to Windows Phone 8. One main reason behind this move is that with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has moved on from Windows CE architecture to Windows NT kernel, so the new OS will be having many of its components borrowed from Windows 8, which in turn will allow applications to be easily ported between the two platforms. However, ZTE Render will be a good complement for US Cellular’s only other Windows Phone device, the sliding QWERTY HTC 7 Pro by offering a touch-screen only option.
For those who fear that their Windows Phone device will be obsolete when Windows Phone 8 devices start appearing in the market, Microsoft has promised that they will be upgrading all the current devices to Windows Phone 7.8 which will bring certain elements from Windows Phone 8 to older devices, so it’s not like the current devices won’t be supported down the road.
The pricing of ZTE Render is pretty good and affordable, and is a great option for US Cellular customers who are looking for a touchscreen only Windows Phone. What are your thoughts on this device? Would you buy a WP device at this time or rather wait for WP 8 device. Let us know using the comment form below.