Sure thing, dual-SIM Android phones are anything but a new thing. LG’s Optimus Net, for example, lets you pop two SIM cards and switch between two different numbers. Heck, you can even get four-SIM devices these days, like the one pictured after the break.
Sadly, dual-SIM handsets typically have a major drawback: Both numbers share the same operating system environment so you can’t really separate your work and personal data on the device. This is about to change, according to Ars Technica which wrote both LG and Samsung had agreed to build phones containing VMware’s mobile hypervisor technology dubbed VMWare Horizon Mobile. In addition, carriers Vodafone and Telefonica will launch dual-number devices from multiple Android makers in Europe.
In a nutshell, this technology lets users choose between two different operating systems at boot time, each isolated from the other. The publication explains the obvious benefits:
Telefonica Android phones will provide the option of having separate data services and two phone numbers on the same SIM card, one for work and one for personal use. It’s not yet been announced whether Verizon will have dual-number phones ready at launch, but one possibility is tying the corporate side of the phone to a PBX system. Even if a phone has just one number, the separate profiles created by Horizon Mobile keep work messaging and browsing separate from the personal part of the phone, and let IT manage the corporate side without touching the personal data.
What’s best, dual-number phones with hypervisor technology should not cost more than their single-SIM counterparts and the system requirements for VMware’s mobile hypervisor are rather modests and include a 700MHz processor and 512MB of RAM.
A four-SIM phone. Image courtesy of Eldar Murtazin.