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ZTE Era Quad-Core Android 4.0 Smartphone, Optic Budget Windows Phone Announced

China-based device maker ZTE isn't going to miss out on all the Android and Windows Phone action at Mobile World Congress. No sir. The company, which announced a $99 Android tablet for Sprint earlier this month, will join other manufacturers in unleashing a quad-core smartphone later this year. To round out its developing portfolio, ZTE will also imitate Nokia by releasing a low-cost Windows Phone with budget-minded specs.

First up, the Android smartphone christened the ZTE Era. With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, and a 4.3-inch QHD display with 960 x 540 pixels, ZTE is making a forward push into the elite realm of smartphone devices. However, companies like HTC and LG are prepping devices with quad-core chips and 720p screen resolutions, so the Era is at a small spec disadvantage there. Hopefully, what the device lacks in hardware it will compensate with a low price point. In an interesting value-add, the Era includes built-in Dolby sound, which could make listening to music files saved on its 8GB onboard storage drive a sonic experience worth chasing.

Meanwhile, the ZTE Orbit will run Windows Phone with a single-core 1-GHz CPU and a 5MP camera. In terms of optics, the Orbit will include a 5-MP camera, and for storage the phone will feature a slant 4GB, all fitting specs when affordability is the primary selling point to consumers. No further hardware details have been revealed but it's expected the Orbit will hold guts similar to the ZTE Tania, another budget phone perviously announced for the UK.  There's no 4G on-board that device. Instead, the very 3G 7.2Mbps HSPA+ network sits in the driver's seat along with DLNA and NFC support riding shotgun.

No further details reported for now, but shoppers in Europe and China can look for the ZTE Era in the second half of 2012 and the Orbit will drop from the skies in April, but only for the UK.