ZTE has announced that it will be launching an entry-level Windows Phone device — dubbed the ‘Orbit’ — come Q2 of 2012. Taking advantage of the new, lowered hardware requirements and significant performance enhancements to ‘Tango’, ZTE were able to produce such a lower-cost device. While pricing is yet to be announced, we imagine that the pricing will be similar to that of the Lumia 610; priced at 189 Euros, it is Nokia’s low-cost contender that’s tailored to developing markets.
The Windows Phone Marketplace was recently enabled in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines, and will be enabled in Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam in the coming week.
“We’re broadening and expanding the range of prices that we support so you’ll be able to buy even more affordable phones, in more languages and countries and on more kinds of networks throughout the world,”
Microsoft’s focus on emerging markets with these lower-cost devices is commendable, but it will come at the cost of slight fragmentation. Unfortunately, it appears that 5% of the 65,000 published apps on the Marketplace will not be able to run on these lower-end devices. Nevertheless, perhaps the benefit of being able to bring smartphones to these emerging markets will outweigh the cost of this slight fragmentation.