In short: Consumers in the United States still see dual-SIM capabilities as a non-factor in making their smartphone purchase decisions, a new study from DeviceAtlas reveals. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan join the U.S. on the list of countries with the lowest usage rates of dual-SIM smartphones and other mobile devices which are barely existent. The same report suggests feature phones are still going strong relative to the current day and age, with India and a number of other developing markets keeping them relevant. Still, feature phones also accounted for over five percentage points of U.S. smartphone traffic in 2017 for the fourth year in a row.
Background: The topic of dual-SIM capabilities became relevant in the Western world following Apple's announcement of the new iPhone generation earlier this week, with the latest iOS flagships supporting both a physical SIM card and an eSIM one. Android device manufacturers have been reluctant to bring dual-SIM smartphones to the U.S. so far, with such features usually being reserved for unlocked and enterprise variants of popular lineups such as the Galaxy S9 one. While the report suggests feature phones remain relevant, it raises some doubts regarding their ability to maintain that status in the long term, particularly given Google's massive investments in Android Go which now offers affordable smartphone solutions whose performance is comparable to those of today's best feature phones.
Impact: Consumers in North America and most parts of Europe who are hoping for a larger selection of dual-SIM smartphones are unlikely to see their wish fulfilled anytime soon, with Samsung, Apple, and possibly Huawei likely being the only major manufacturers that will offer a wider range of such devices on any significant scale moving forward. Electronic SIM cards may eventually reverse that trend as they'll likely to allow device makers and wireless carriers to support multiple phone numbers on a single handset in a more cost-effective manner but the technology is still far from widespread.