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Two networks in one device: dual-mode smartphones from Yulong

The amount of fingers on ones palm will be enough to count phones that were able to work in two technologically different networks. First ones that come to my mind are quite old models: Sagem GSM/DECT and Siemens S46 GSM/DAMPS, support of analogue AMPS in CMDA 800 and DAMPS phones does not count. There are even fewer know-how solutions for two GSM SIM-cards in one device, except for really-really old Benefon and some exotic solutions alongside with Multi-SIM solutions. Its so even despite the fact that the demand for such phones has been quite big and will not go downwards in the nearest future.

No one tried to check the demand for two-mode and two-sim phones in Russian market, but subjective signs allow drawing conclusion that the demand is high and stable. The phone Siemens S46 GSM/DAMPS (GSM-analogue S45) was released in Russia with amazingly high price tag, far beyond popularity peak for 45-series. A great amount of these phones was bought by Corbina clients. Even despite limited GSM-functionality (only 900mhz). As for GSM phones with two sim-cards, after we wrote article about Chinese adapter we received huge amount of emails from our readers (around 100 per day), we had to comeback to this question after 3 months. The amount of emails could have been lower, in case those who sell such adapters would not include our articles as manual. These rather unreliable adapters are sold in rather big numbers even now, this certainly speaks out for the demand.

Keyword simultaneously

Approximately every 10th letter about this adapter had one and the same questions: Why the phone is not working in two networks simultaneously? We can only laugh at those naive users who were asking about this (in order to get such functionality you should pay a lot more than just 4 USD, second radioblock, etc, basically another two phones in the case of one), but the question itself is just and actual for Russia, around hundred thousand clients are forced to carry two or even three phones in their pockets. The operators provoke this with their unbalanced tariffs, since they have to attract the potential clients with something and at the same time ARPU should not collapse. This is why nowadays we have various tariff-packs in which one form of service is extremely cheap, meanwhile others are way too expensive. A typical example of that is new tariff by MTS: you can call to three favorite phone numbers and pay only 1 cent per minute, meanwhile you will have to pay 19 cents for the rest of calls. In other tariff plan you can pay 1 cent for sms, meanwhile you pay 16 cents for 1 minute of phone call. This is the reason why you have to carry three phones at once: 1 for sms, other for 3 favorite numbers, and third for the rest of phone calls. This scheme hides the answer why there arent any multi-sim phones on the market, the manufacturers have no reason to conflict with operators. As for terminals that are capable of working in two networks at once, such solutions would become the killers for time-limited tariffs, thats why they will not be released massively. The manufactures can always say that the demand for such products is very low and the price for double components in one case is too high.

CDMA+GSM and GSM+GSM

I was able to take a photo of CoolPAD 728 smartphone by Chinese company Yulong during CeBIT 2006. An interesting device in slider form-factor. Key specialty simultaneous work in CDMA 800/1900 and GSM 900/1800/1900 networks. The phone has two radioblocks, and double set of all required hardware. The display features two LEDS, Windows CE OS was optimized to work with double terminal. The smartphone was released in November 2005, specifications can be found in the end of this article, the price is around 700 USD.

CoolPAD 728 G2 is brand new smartphone from the very same company. It was released in February 2006. The phone can operate simultaneously in two GSM networks (900/1800/1900), basic specifications are similar to the ones in CoolPAD 728. One of noticeable improvements is the camera which is now 2mpx instead of previous 1.3mpx resolution. The price for end-user will be around 750 USD.

Basic specifications of CoolPAD 728:

Standards and frequencies
CDMA 800/1900, GSM900/1800/1900
CDMA+GSM simultaneously
Operating System
Windows CE, optimized interface
Memory
128MB NAND FLASH+64MB SD RAM, support of Mini SD cards with capacity up to 1GB
Address book and messages
3000 contacts (Several entries for each record)
2000 messages
Sending and Reception of MMS
Sound and Multimedia
Supported formats - MP4, MP3, wmv, asf, 3gp, streaming media
TV show broadcast support via Real time TV
Stereo-3D sound speakers
2.0/1.3mpx camera
Video recording
Text input and office applications
Intellectual recognition of
Viewer for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, WordPad documents, support of attachments In emails
Preset voice recognition dictionary
Backup of all data (address book, messages, email, photo, etc) to MiniSD memory card
Wireless standards
CDMA 1X, GPRS
Internet applications
Internet Explorer
WAP-browser
E-mail
MSN
Custom Software
Additional applications
Dictaphone
Voice dialing
PC Sync
Built-in speaker for Handsfree
Filter for incoming calls and messages
Password protection
JAVA
Specifications
Display: 2.8 inches, 240 320, 262144 colors TFT
Battery 1100 mAh or 2000 mAh Li-ion
Dimensions 116 59 21.5
Weight 172 grams with standard battery (1100 mAh)

CDMA 450 wasnt so lucky

Yolong gained fame due to their two-mode phones, their most popular model in the market - smartphone CoolPAD 858T, it was released in the end of 2004. The phone can work in tow networks CDMA 450 and GSM 900/1800/1900. Unfortunately, this model was absent at the exhibition and it was impossible to define its price. Judging by the description, this smartphone made in clam-shell design is not supporting simultaneous work in two networks (CDMA and GSM), but even if you have to switch between RUIM and SIM cards, this phone raises great interest not only because built-in two-mode support, but the specifications as well:

Some specifications of CoolPAD 858T:

Standards and Frequencies
CDMA 450, GSM900/1800/1900
Processor
Dual processor ARM 9
Memory
64MB SD RAM, 64MB FLASHROM, Mini SD support
Address book and messages
3000 contacts (Total 24000 phone numbers)
2000 messages
1000 email messages
1000 records about last calls
Reception and Sending of MMS
Sound and multimedia
Supported formats - MP4, MP3, streaming media
Support of TV broadcasts via Real time TV
1.3mpx camera
Video recording until Mini SD Card is filled
Text input and office applications
Touch-screen input
View and editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF documents, support of attachments in emails
Preset dictionary
Internet applications
Internet Explorer
WAP-browser
E-mail
Additional applications
Syncrhonization with PC
Built-in speaker for Handsfree
Filter of incoming calls and messages
Calculator
Alarm Clock
Specifications
Display: 2.8 inches, 240x320, 260000 colors TFT
Battery: 1200 mAh or 2000 mAh Li-ion
Dimensions: 106 61.5 27 mm
Weight 162 grams with standard battery (1200 mAh)

One thing should be noted, specifications of these smartphones are not complete or exhaustive. For example, I doubt that there is no calculator or alarm clock in CoolPAD 728, using the same reasons for drawing conclusions I must say that the phone book most likely has 8 fields for every contact, most likely you can also edit office-type files, etc. The interface is not localized for Russia, and support of Russian encodings is most likely absent. Although for Windows OS smartphones this problem is not oh so hard to solve. Most likely the specifications have mistakes, since we found one in CoolPAD 728 G2s, obvious results of using copy/paste method. Those who are willing to found out more about the device can read English or Chinese specifications at manufacturers web-site. We shall not draw predictions and perspectives for these devices in Russian market, its way to early for that, but the fact that such devices do exist is a good sign.

Sergey Potresov (sergey.potresov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexander "Lexx" Zavoloka (alexander.zavoloka@mobile-review.com)

Published - 27 March 2006

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