What are Dual-SIM Smartphones and Why Are They Necessary?

Dual-SIM smartphones are mobile phones that have two slots for two SIM cards. Most smartphones on the market are single-SIM smartphones and require only one SIM card for activation and operation. As of 2013, Sony’s Xperia E Dual will be the newest dual-SIM smartphone on the market – though it is not the first. With Sony’s soon-to-be-released dual-SIM smartphone, consumers want to know the significance behind the dual-SIM smartphone: what purpose does a dual-SIM smartphone serve for the consumer public?

The first dual-SIM smartphone, called the Benefon Twin, emerged as a Finland smartphone in 2000 from Benefon (later renamed Twig Ltd.). The Benefon + was also introduced in the same year. The very first dual-SIM to hit the American market was the Nokia C1-00, released in summer’s end in (early Fall) 2010. The C1-00 came with a micro-SD card slot, flashlight, VGA camera, color display, six-week standby time, headphone jack, and FM radio. Unlike later models, the C1-00 was a standby-dual SIM smartphone. A standby-dual SIM smartphone means that a phone can switch between SIM cards but cannot use both simultaneously. Active-dual SIM smartphones are more flexible and allow the operation of two SIM cards at once. The dual-SIM card feature makes the phone an automatic GSM phone. Nokia’s next dual-SIM was the C2-00, followed by the X1-01, Asha 200, and X2-02 smartphones.

The X2-02 was Nokia’s most recent dual-SIM smartphone, released in January 2012. The X2-02 had a 2.2-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, a 240 x 320 screen resolution, and dual-SIM card support but did not have WiFi, autofocus, or flash support. Sony’s Xperia E will advance a line of dual-SIM smartphones that have advanced over the last two years.

What are the benefits of acquiring and using dual-SIM smartphones? One benefit of the dual-SIM phone is multiple user accounts. With two SIM cards, two individuals can share a phone while maintaining their own phone privacy by way of different accounts. Parents who want to expose their children to smartphones without buying them one right away may share a phone with their child – the parents will use one SIM card while the child uses another. Another benefit pertains to international business travelers who can use one SIM locally while using the other internationally. Additionally, businessmen can create two user accounts, one for private affairs and one for business contacts. If a consumer is interested in trying out two prepaid services, he or she can purchase two SIM cards, activate two prepaid accounts, and use them both in one phone – without buying two unlocked phones at a premium price ($500-$600 minimum per phone).

Although Nokia released the first dual-SIM that hit the American market, dual-SIM smartphones were released in Europe and the world beginning in early 2010. The Philips Xenium X-100 was released in the first quarter of 2010. The Samsung B7722 was a smartphone that was given another name in India (known as the “Samsung Dual-SIM Star Duos”). Samsung also produced the B5722 and the E2152 as additional dual-SIM smartphones. While the dual-SIM smartphone provides excellent benefit, it also seems to compound the SIM card amount and thus, requires additional money to sustain the feature. Google’s LG Nexus 4, however, transforms the vice of dual-SIM phones into a virtue: its multiple user account feature in the latest Jelly Bean update (Android 4.2) provides multiple user accounts via software and eliminates the need for most consumers to purchase double hardware.

To see more recent dual-SIM phones, go here.