Google has been working on eSIM support in its flagship smartphones for the past couple of years with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 releases. However, neither of those supported both eSIM and a physical SIM at the same time. According to an AOSP commit, that may change with the Pixel 4 offering “better” dual-SIM support.

First spotted by the folks at XDA-Developers, an AOSP commit contains our first hint that the “2019 Pixel,” likely the Pixel 4, will support dual-SIM functionality. The commit doesn’t state explicitly that this dual-SIM mode will directly use the eSIM and physical SIM functions at the same time, but the language used hints at a DSDS configuration.

Previous Pixels have used the DSSA configuration for multiple SIM slots which restricts only a single SIM to be actively used for any given task, hence the Dual-SIM; Single Active full name.

DSDS or Dual-SIM; Dual Standby, on the other hand, is what we’ve seen in Apple’s latest iPhones. It allows both SIMs to be used so long as they’re not used at the same time for the same task. For example, users wouldn’t be able to receive texts from both numbers simultaneously without using DSDA, Dual-SIM; Dual Active, but that requires extra radios within the device.

Apparently, the Pixel 4, or whatever 2019 Pixel device this commit is referring to, will use a new boolean to differentiate this new device from 2018 Pixel devices, the Pixel 3. In theory, that means this functionality might be able to hit older hardware as a boolean is simply a data type, but I wouldn’t place any bets on that.

Even so, we still don’t know for certain exactly what this dual-SIM functionality will be. The most logical conclusion is that the device will be able to be active on an eSIM as well as a physical SIM, granting access to two different networks at once. Hopefully, that ends up being the case.

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Ben Schoon

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