Unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2012 (MWC), the ZTE Orbit and the Nokia Lumia 610 are set to go head-to-head to claim the title of best budget Windows Phone.
Offering Microsoft's latest Windows Phone Tango operating system, both ZTE and Nokia have confirmed that the budget handsets are designed as an introductory device, aimed at new smartphone users.
The products' unveiling comes at key points for the two companies, with Nokia having just overtaken HTC as the world's top-selling Windows Phone maker and ZTE on the cusp of a new campaign to increase its overall western market share.
Going purely on processor power along, the Nokia Lumia 610 is set to lose out to the ZTE Orbit with the former having an 800MHz processor while the latter is powered by a 1GHz single-core processor. The ZTE Orbit also boasts 512MB of RAM while the Lumia 610 by comparison only has 256MB of RAM. The Orbit's 4in WVGA screen is also slightly bigger than the Lumia 610's 3.7in display.
That said, the 610 will contain Nokia's new series of Windows Phone apps, coming loaded with both a revamped version of Nokia Maps and the company's new Library app. Similar to the Kindle app, Nokia's Library app will let users download and read books and magazines. Aiming to separate itself, the app will also have a build-your-own magazine feature. The feature will collate the users favourite news outlets and articles, meshing them into a custom magazine interface - in a similar way that Flipboard does on iOS. The Library app will of course display your magazine in its own dynamic tile on the home screen.
The Orbit and Lumia 610 are expected to be the first of several new budget Windows Phones to hit the market following the release of Windows Phone Tango. The latest version of Windows Phone 7, codenamed Tango, will allow manufacturers to reduce the technical demands placed on them by previous version of the OS - which is why the Lumia 610 is powered by a 800MHz processor with just 256MB of RAM.
Both devices are set to be released in the second quarter of 2012 and are expected to be fairly equal in price. Nokia's Lumia 610 has been priced by the company at around £192. Although ZTE is yet to give the Orbit an official RRP, it is expected to be released in the same price bracket as the ZTE Tania Windows Phone - which retails for around £210.
The two product's price and release date will put them in competition with a number of similarly priced Android handsets - including Samsung's new budget range of Galaxy devices. Samsung unveiled the third budget smartphone, the Galaxy Pocket, on Monday joining the Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy mini 2 which were launched atr MWC.
Expected to retail in the sub-£200 price bracket, the Galaxy devices could be problematic for ZTE and Nokia, with most analysts agreeing the budget market is currently owned by Android. This could mean that in order to wrestle new users' interest away from Google, both Nokia and ZTE will have to up their marketing strategies - a front that neither ZTE or Nokia have been very successful at in recent years.
Check back at the International Business Times UK later in the year for full reviews of the devices.