Following widespread speculation that Apple will release a new budget version of its current iPhone 4, HTC, ZTE and Huawei have all announced new budget handsets designed to take on the iPhone 4S.
Following widespread speculation regarding HTC's miniature smartphone, the company confirmed the Explorer's existence Wednesday.
The device has been confirmed as running-off, a somewhat tiny, 600MHz processor. Additionally the Explorer will contain a 3.2-inch HVGA (480 x 320) capacitive display, 3 mega-pixel camera and 512MB of expandable memory.
In its statement HTC suggested the device would be available "from Q4 2011 in Metallic Black, Active Black and Metallic Navy."
Details regarding the ZTE Spirit -- formerly known as the WP7 -- emerged Tuesday from The INQUIRER. It alleged that ZTE would be releasing the device "very soon" in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The INQUIRER reported that ZTE's director of mobile device operations, Wu Sa had confirmed that the smartphone would be a part of the company's Skate family of devices.
The Skate -- known as the Monte Carlo in the UK -- is currently available via Orange for around £150. The device houses 2GB of internal storage a 4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen and is powered by an 800MHz processor.
ZTE is yet to clarify whether its new Mango-powered Spirit device will house the same spec.
Of the recent slew of budget handsets hitting the market, the Huawei Blaze is undoubtedly the cheapest. The first phone to be released under Huawei's own name, the Blaze is set to hit UK shelves with a modest £100 price tag.
Like the Explorer the Blaze houses a modest 600MHz processor and runs using Google's Android operating system. Additionally, the Blaze will house 256MB of RAM, a 3.2 inch (480 x 320) touchscreen, a 3.2 mega-pixel camera and be capable of 32GB of storage via microSD upgrades.
The Blaze will reportedly be available Phones4U, from 30 September, 2011.
The iPhone 4S
If the current rumours regarding Apple's 4 October media event are true, all three of the budget devices may have to compete with a new "budget" version of Apple's iPhone 4.
The Oct. 4 event was confirmed Tuesday when a number of sites leaked images of the invitation. The invitation carried the tag-line, "lets talk iPhone," confirming Apple would be unveiling something relating to its iPhone series of devices.
The invitation follows a slew of conflicting reports by the world's media regarding Apple's next entry into its iPhone franchise. Despite the lack of official word from Apple, there are currently two prominent theories regarding the direction it will take for its next iPhone.
The first suggests that the company will attempt to break into the currently Android-dominated affordable smartphone market with an updated budget version of its current iPhone 4 handset.
The second theory suggests that Apple is set to release a truly next-generation iPhone. Labelled the iPhone 5, the exact details of what changes and upgrades will be made to the device to improve it past Apple's current iPhone 4 vary Web site to Web site.
Apple are yet to release any official information on either device.