Why Samsung just entered the dual-SIM smartphone game

Written on:December 22, 2011
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Samsung introduced its first two dual-SIM smartphones on Thursday, the Galaxy Y Duos and Galaxy Y Pro Duos. The new handsets, one with a keyboard and one without, will initially launch in Russia next month and will roll out in other countries soon after. Each of the new Google Android 2.3 smartphones will support two phone numbers and simultaneous data with the 7.2 Mbps HSPA mobile broadband radios.

The new handsets may sound and look familiar to those who follow Samsung closely. The Galaxy Y lineup was first announced back in August, along with several other models as Samsung decided to expand the Galaxy brand. Those phones with the “Y” label are described by the company as “entry models or strategic models for emerging markets or a younger audience more sensitive to price.” That’s why the specifications of the new Duo phones are skewed towards the low end: 832 MHz processors, 320 x 240 resolution displays and 3 megapixel fixed focus cameras, for example.

This combination of affordable features paired with dual-SIM capabilities, however, could appeal in countries where handset costs push some to share handsets, which is one of the uses of a dual-SIM device. One look at the targeted countries for the new Galaxy Y smartphones illustrates this: China, India, Latin America, and Africa, to name a few.

One phone can easily be used by two or more people thanks to the multiple SIM functionality; a feature that Nokia has offered in the same regions. Nokia is still offering low-end devices with two SIM slots, but its move to Windows Phone opens the door for Samsung to broaden its audience in emerging regions. Essentially, the new Galaxy Y handsets allow Samsung to experiment in a new market to see if its a viable area for continued sales growth. In fact, I noted five reasons in June why Samsung will be the next smartphone king: dual-SIM support, could become reason no. 6.

There’s another opportunity afforded to Samsung, however: The growing trend of BYOD, or bring your own device. Corporate employees have begun to carry two mobile devices; one provided by their employer for work purposes and their own handset of choice for personal use. Carrying two phones isn’t optimal, so one device that can separate work activities from personal ones has appeal. A dual-SIM smartphone helps with the BYOD movement by separating voice and messaging communications between personal and work modes.

Will these new low-end Galaxy Y devices start appearing in the corporate world? That’s doubtful because they lack the oomph needed in today’s tech world. However, Samsung could migrate the dual-SIM capability up the “food chain” of it’s Galaxy line into the higher end phones. And that feature could be supplemented with Samsung software customizations to allow for “work” and “personal” modes. During the workday, the phone environment is geared towards corporate activities, while off-hours, games and social networking apps are accessible. And in both cases, the dual-SIM feature ensures that both work and private communications continue to flow.

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