US Cellular picks up ZTE Render aka ‘Orbit’ with Windows Phone 7.5 Tango

ZTE Render

The Orbit is now the 'Render' on US Cellular

Here's some odd Friday night news and we’re kind of truly blown away it. Evidently, ZTE has managed to score a carrier for one of their Windows Phones, specifically US Cellular.

The ZTE Render, which many of you will know as the Orbit from awhile back, features a CDMA chipset with EVDO (Rev A?), a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, a 4” display and a not so-impressive 4GB of storage.

US Cellular

It also comes with Windows Phone 7.5 Tango 2 (Build 8779) and a 1600mAh battery, which ain’t half bad.  Of course you would have to pay $179 with a 2 year-agreement and then you can get back $100 as a rebate—probably not the best investment if you’re into the latest thing.

Our video hands-on back in February

The ZTE Orbit was shown off back at Mobile World Congress and it didn’t really ‘wow’ us, as it was kind of a cheap Samsung Focus. Still, with Windows Phone 7.5 Tango 2 and if you could get it on the cheap, it might not be too bad.

Anyway, we don’t really expect many people to pick this up but it is certainly an oddity and worth mentioning.

Source: US Cellular; Thanks, Caleb M., for the tip!


Reader comments

US Cellular picks up ZTE Render aka ‘Orbit’ with Windows Phone 7.5 Tango


pretty amazing ZTE even bothered to make a CDMA variant.  On the other hand it could be they are cozying up to US cell for future WP8 devices.

Its starting to happen. I look through my twitter timeline and see a surprising amount of "sent from Windows Phone". I think we are stating to finally see some mainstream acceptance. Won't be long before the hipsters notice and adopt us so they can feel punk rock.

Latest ComScore #'s show WP dropped from 4.0% to 3.6% over the summer. Nothing's going to happen until WP8 in October / November. These kinds of phones may help after the 920-type phones raise some awareness of WP with the general public.

Isn't it funny that Samsung, a long time ago, was essentially the "zte" of Sony and now their one of the big dogs in electronics? Kills me...too funny..sent from my Samsung Focus S ;)

I didn't even know US Cellular had wp devices until today. Now if they can get some of these on say Boost and MySimplemobile that'll be nice. I know family member and several friends that are on these small networks and all are stuck with Androids because that's what's available on these small cellular carriers.
Some customers just want the $50 (unlimited web/talk/text) plan and nothing more. While not a US cellular customer, I actually visited their website and I was surprised to know that the HTC 7 Pro was there along w/the Orbit. What surprised me the most was the amount of positive reviews for the 7 Pro. Quite amazing. Most of these users just want a device that works without the fumbling of roms or reading pages upon pages of forums to figure something as easy as setting up emails or calendars or etc. Most reviews there just say "it works" and "it's easy to use out of the box". I'm a tmob customer but I'm quite amazed by these reviews.  Yes I've seen reviews on tmob and att websites but I'm even more impressed with the ones on US Cellular websites.
Just wished these phone manufacturers like Nokia can put more of their low end devices on the smaller carriers. It definitely helps spread the wp awareness. Kudos to HTC tho.-----
 Wp8 upgrade path
My HD7 currently doesn't charge (for almost 2 months now) and I purchased it in Feb 2011. So there goes my experience w/HTC. I want my next device to be NL 920 but I think Nokia /MS are shooting themselves in the foot as I think Nokia is giving ATT / and may be VW the NL920 and not tmob. Most likely Tmob will be getting the NL 820 and I don't want that (eventho I can upgrade the microSD to 64GB). 4GB isn't alot and with wp8, you cant install apps or copy documents on the microSD cards. You can only store music, videos, and pictures on the card. So 4GB isn't sufficient. That leaves me w/the ATIV-S or the 8X but I really want to avoid HTC as much as possible considering I currently have a paperweight phone that doesnt charge and I paid 350$ for that and not even 2 yrs it stopped charging.  I'm quite disappointed with HTC build quality.

Yeah ok..sure. As some1 who was a diehard htc fan from the win mobile days, yeah..i don't know what I'm talking about.

Just because one product was defective doesn't mean they all are. My TP2 that I got in 2010 still works great. Speak for yourself pitúfo!

Sooner or Later, I can appreciate your admiration of HTC which has made some good phones.  However, some people have had very bad experiences with them.  I am an original HTC Titan I owner and HTC fully acknowledges it is flawed and they never stepped up to support it.  I spent an upgrade on it and was very dissappointed.  I am not saying I won't buyt another HTC but it would only be after the phone has been on the market for awhile with user feedback readily available.  I wish HTC success because the ecosystem needs strong OEMs. However, I can't be stuck with a bad phone.  

Sounds like you have a dead battery. Those can be picked up extremely cheaply on amazon. I bought two high capacity batteries for my HTC surround a year ago for ~$20. Thy were the same batteries used in all HTC devices at the time. Try giving that a shot.

I'm not necessarily defending HTC as their devices always tend to have one big Achilles heel. My titan can't reach the WiFi in my bedroom and the router is in the living room on the other side of the wall.

I second this.
I had the same thing happen with my HP 614c. Replacing the battery reinvigorated it.
HTC do seem to have a policy of fitting small batteries which give you little room for manouver, but judging from my HD7, make really good quality devices. I won't turn my nose up at an 8X.

Actually i bought a new battery and it didn't charge either. When i received the new battery, it came with same 50% charge and so plugged it in the phone and the phone indicated ot was charging but the actual % chg left was going down. As of rightnow, it's not the battery. Yes, I'll def re-think my purchase with HTC next time around. Wish i had a warranty still. I considered buying a used one for parts but that's almost impossible.

I suspect it's the port but how do i get that repaired? im out of warranty. It would be nice to win one of those wp sweepstakes.

But you do know it's completely the carriers choice on what phones they want to offer...if tmo doesn't want to pay to carry the 920 then it's really nothing Nokia can do

Yes it's but tell me a good reason the 8x is going to be available on all 3 carriers? the more carriers they get the 920, the better sales and awareness the whole wp ecosystem becomes. Some of us can't afford to pay arms, legs, and livers to ATT and VZW who just keeps hiking prices for every little thing. Try comparing their plan prices w/tmob. ATT & VZW are like in a race to win some kind of price war or something. Do u have any idea how many more L900 would have been sold of it were available on tmob as well as VZW? alot more. Apple realize this as well so..why can't Nokia do the same? It would have been nicer if the phone could work on tmob 3/4g for change.

The more the merrier, not every carrier here in Sweden have shown any interest in getting WP, Telia being the most sceptical and talking about only one phone.

So, it's $79 with a $100 rebate with a new two year contract? They pay you $21 to take this phone. ZTE, 7.5, whatever. That's a good deal for those coming off a feature phone.

No, $79 AFTER a $100 rebate. Seems like a ripoff. 256MB RAM, 4GB (2.something usable) storage, and a dead OS. Only buy this if you were considering a non-smartphone.

Whoa?! You're right. This is a shit deal as the lumia 900 is going for $49 subsidized and I imagine the 8S will be around $99

It`s actually kinda touching to read those reviews on US Cellular.  While we are here demanding only the best, these people were not asking for a lot in the first place and yet they were constantly disappointed with Android. And finally, they found satisfaction with WP.

I was with US Cellular for years before leaving them last November in search of better WP support. They carried 1 model, the HTC 7 Pro. It's the same as Sprint's HTC Arrive. I had it and it was a nice little WP with a 3.7" or 3.8" display. I'm glad to hear they are trying harder to back WP. My experience there is what led to the WinPhan Movement and WinPhan7 as I spent an absurd amount of time offering support to US Cellular's WP owners since US Cellular had no interest in offering any type of support and often couldn't answer questions posed to them. I doubt the device will find any success with them as their reps abhor WP and make it well known when in stores, its offensive actually. I hope WP8 makes it to them and training is offered to them as well. Best move I ever made...leaving US Cellular for AT&T! I love me some Windows Phone!!!

Most of the AT&T's I've gone to have a good amount of training actually, I always ask about it when visiting AT&T stores. Even at our local AT&T, which is in a rural community, they received training. The reps are well educated about Windows Phone, its terminology, and features. More than that, they don't dissuade you from picking up a WP like US Cellular does.

NOBODY needs to know about this with Windows Phone 8 just around the corner.lol Ok maybe the smaller markets but c'mon.

$179 on a 2yr then get back $100 512ram & 4g of memory no thank you even the lumia 710 was free on a 2year contract but good to see another company coming to wp8

There is no reason for new devices with WP7.8. Its should be a transitional os for those already with WP7. MS should make sure all new phone should only come with WP8.

I see your point MS should be strict on that. Yes wp7.8/ 7.5 is good but will be old. Would you buy a shirt/pants with last years style sure but not for a heavy price & carriers still want to lock you in a 2yr contract ridicules! Not against the company but the carrier.