ZTE Skate aka Monte Carlo Orange UK release date soon; Price may under £200

It has been revealed according to some recent reports by the Mobile Firm Orange that there is going to be the launch of a new ZTE Skate Smartphone. They are going to sell this phone and they have renamed it Monte Carlo. The phone was announced in February at MWC after ZTE announced it in May, Orange renamed the phone the Monte Carlo. It’s on Orange’s ‘coming soon’ web page, so we asked it for a more precise release date.

The Monte Carlo / Skate features a 4.3 inch touchscreen and the latest version of Android for mobiles – 2.3 Gingerbread. It’s also packing a decent 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash. Under the hood there are a few compromises evident, as the Skate is powered by a 800 MHz processor with 512 MB of RAM. That’s not exactly cutting edge at a time when dual-core smartphones packing Gigabytes of RAM are becoming ever more common, but it’s more than adequate for most tasks.

Though Orange said nothing at the time, we predicted that the Skate might end up as an offering on the network under another moniker, and today, it has, as the Orange Monte Carlo. It’s listed as Coming Soon on the network’s UK online store, and though price is still TBC, we have confirmed it’ll be sold via Pay As You Go, so you can expect a very low price. Sub-£100, like its predecessor? An Orange spokesperson declined to comment when asked, but we suspect it’ll prove to be a bargain – and the fact that it runs a relatively untampered version of Android 2.3 will have Android geeks in a tizzy too.

The Skate runs on Android Gingerbread which was expected; apart from the usual carrier customisations, the operator has also bundled a number of apps like Orange Wednesday and Orange App Store. It will be available on PAYG initially and Orange has yet to say whether or when it will be sold on pay monthly; also unknown is whether the Orange San Francisco will be discontinued soon – it is currently on sale for £100 at Orange.

The San Francisco was widely regarded as the best budget smartphone of 2010, with a price tag under £100 on PAYG. Orange haven’t released any pricing information for the Monte Carlo just yet, but speculations are ranging from £200 to under £100, like its predecessor. Of course, we’re hoping that Orange choose to lean towards the lower end of these estimate, but even at £200 you’d be getting a bargain with this phone. Needless to say, with a competitive price the Monte Carlo could prove just as popular as the San Francisco was.

Rest assured, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one for you: this could very well be the phone of the year.