Nokia is set to unleash its latest Windows Phone OS handset next week in the UK, adding to the Lumia ranks with its most budget friendly handset yet. The new Lumia 610 will push the Windows Phone mobile platform against Android's more budget minded handsets.

The handset first appeared at this year's Mobile World Congress, back in February, following up on the Finnish phone maker's promise to release more affordable Windows-based models. It will launch during the first week of June, with O2 and Virgin Media already confirmed. Nokia has also confirmed that Orange will exclusively sell a NFC-enabled version of the Lumia 610 handset, although no release date has been given.

Running Windows Phone 7.5 Tango (aka 7.5 Refresh), Microsoft says the OS has been specifically developed to run on smartphones with less powerful hardware. The hardware specifications include a single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 7227A processor clocked at 800MHz, 256MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 5MP rear shooter with LED flash and a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 800x480 pixels.

Nokia hopes the price, at under £100 in the UK, will attract more budget conscious consumers, as well as appeal to the younger generation. As with other Lumia models, support is provided for 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Dimensions are 119.2mm x 62.2mm x 12.0mm, weighing in at 132 grams. The phone will be available in black, cyan and pink.

Microsoft has promptly warned prospective buyers that the hardware/software combination might struggle or not even run some of the more demanding applications available from the Marketplace. Skype is one such example, as it requires twice as much RAM. Otherwise, the phone itself is said to function very smoothly and offers a near-identical experience to the more powerful Lumia models.

During a lunch event in London, a Nokia staff member also revealed to the Inquirer that the BBC's popular video catch-up service, iPlayer is inbound. "BBC iPlayer is expected to arrive on Windows Phone within the next few weeks, a sign that the Windows Phone Marketplace is attracting more developers," the spokesperson said.