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2013 trend: dual-identity smartphones

business Updated: Dec 31, 2012 14:34 IST

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From next year, manufacturers will be incorporating processors that allow users to separate their business life from their personal life, or their personal life from their very personal life.

At September's BlackBerry Jam event in the US, struggling mobile maker RIM unveiled a raft of new features for the handset that it hopes will re-establish the BlackBerry alongside Apple and Samsung, chief among which was ‘BlackBerry Balance' -- a feature that allows users to keep their work emails, contacts and apps separate from their personal lives. Essentially combining two handsets in one device.

Aimed at the growing trend of BYOD (bring your own device -- to work), it was one of the stars of the show and a clear differentiator between it and its iOS and Android peers.

When the long-awaited new BlackBerry 10 is unveiled in January 2013 it will be the first to offer this feature, but it won't stay unique for long as a number of software and chip developers have been contracted to develop the same technology for Android phones, and the same dual-handset feature is expected to start rolling out on LG, Samsung and Motorola phones before the second half of next year.

And while the intention is to help businesses keep their data secure when letting employees use their own smartphones for work, if the latest smartphone user surveys are to be believed, it could have another more widespread use -- for keeping secrets from partners.

According to research by BullGuard, published in November, one in five UK men has a secret email account they use for hiding correspondence from their partner, and 5 percent have gone as far as buying a second smartphone for fear of their partner snooping on their messages and photos.

A similar study in the US from Virgin Mobile Live found that 20 percent of married people said they felt uncomfortable giving their phone to their partner and 44 percent of women admitted to going through their partner's phone behind their backs.