Samsung is testing out a second variant of the Galaxy S9 flagship in China according to the latest leaks. The South Korean company is testing two S9 and two S9 plus variants – each with single SIM and dual SIM versions of the two flagship handsets being trialled.
This would not be the first time that Samsung has tested out different configuration of a smartphone before committing to one specification for the launch event. The Galaxy Note 7 had different variants available around the world, both of which had been tested in Europe prior to the public release of the phablet.
That Samsung is testing out a variant of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus handsets should not come as a surprise. The real surprise would be if the dual-SIM variant makes its way out of the Chinese market into the wider world. Much as I’m sold on the utility of dual SIM handsets (easily found in the UK through handsets from OnePlus and WileyFox, to name two), there seems to be a reluctance by networks to bring dual SIM handsets to the mainstream in western markets. Perhaps there’s to much revenue from roaming fees while travelling around Europe and flitting between countries?
There’s also Samsung’s approach to supporting microSD cards. In previous dual-SIM handsets the second SIM card sits in the same physical space as the microSD card – it’s a dual function space on the card holder. There are a number of indications that suggest Samsung might be (once more) considering dropping SD card support from a flagship handset and relying on a bump up in the internal memory. If that’s the case, then where would the second SIM card go?
Although Samsung can push the envelope and advanced smartphone design with the Galaxy S handsets, 2018 design is looking for like an iterative update where specifications are increased across the board, capabilities bumped up, but nothing fundamental changes. I’d expect the S9 to continue supporting microSD, I’d expect BRIC editions of the handset to continue offering dual SIM support, and I’d expect the variants that reach North America and Europe will be limited to single SIM operations… unfortunately.