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Orange Outs Monte Carlo Smartphone AKA ZTE Skate

The ZTE Skate, which we saw at the Mobile World Congress, has finally been released in the UK and renamed by Orange as the Monte Carlo; the mobile phone operator ought to have high hopes for this model given the success of its predecessor, the Orange San Francisco, AKA ZTE Blade or OSF.

As expected, the Skate is to the Blade what the HTC Desire HD is to the Desire, a bigger phone with roughly the same specifications. There's a huge 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen with the same screen resolution as the OSF, a five megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Signal Boost and HD Voice features, a micro USB port, 512MB RAM, a microSD card slot, an ARM11 SoC (the Qualcomm MSM7227T) clocked at 800MHz, a third faster than its predecessor.

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.

Another ZTE handset, the Libra, is set to be launched in the UK with roughly the same specifications as the Blade. Which brings us to that last unknown; how much will the Monte Carlo and the Libra cost?