Earlier today, Andy went into detail on the Orbit, ZTE’s newly unveiled Windows Phone 7.5 device running the “Tango” update. His article goes into detail about Tango, which allows Windows Phone 7.5 to run on devices with somewhat weaker processors and 256MB of RAM — half the minimum amount in previous WP7 devices. Like the new Nokia Lumia 610, the ZTE Orbit is a cheaper device than the higher-end smartphones we usually cover at shows like Mobile World Congress, but it manages to pull off an impressive feat: it halves the processing and RAM of Windows Phone without any noticeable loss in speed. These new Tango phones run just as fast as any other Windows Phone.
I only spent a few minutes with the Orbit, and it didn’t have a Marketplace connection so I couldn’t download any particularly grueling apps, but everything ran smoothly. The phone itself looks a lot like the ZTE Tania (WP7) or a silver version of the Samsung Focus, which was one of the better first-generation WP7 devices. Oddly, the Xbox Live app was removed and replaced with a generic Games section and there were a few other debugging apps still on the phone as well. Unlike Nokia, ZTE doesn’t seem to have invested in any custom designs or apps to differentiate its device.
The Orbit has no announced US availability or pricing, but it will likely retail for less than $250 without a contract, and probably free with one, should it make its way over here.