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MWC: General Mobile DSTL1 Imaginary Review

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general-mobile-dstl1-imaginary-4BARCELONA, Spain – The General Mobile DSTL1 Imaginary is the first mobile phone based on Google Android to support functionality of two SIM cards at the same time. It was showcased at the Mobile World Congress last week.

The company is not known throughout the mobile industry, as its dual-SIM phone offerings are not welcomed by most network operators, whom prefer to keep users on their own networks, rather than let them have multiple choices. This particular phone supports tri-band connectivity.

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The US-based General Mobile is already in talks with Turkcell (Turkey), and Vodafone Germany (Germany). There are no additional reports of any other deal in process at the moment.

For the near-future, three Google Android-based devices are scheduled to launch from this company. Two will support 3G connectivity, one will have a QWERTY keyboard, while the other will be profiled as a slim touchscreen phone. There is no indication of when these could be announced, but near-future could extend until the end of 2009.

The DSTL1 comes packed with features that characterizes it as a high-end device. The company itself is not reputable, but the maker of the display and camera, Sharp, gives some assurance to potential buyers as it is a known brand in this sector.

The touchscreen display is 3″ in size and possesses Wide-QVGA resolution (240×400 pixels). The camera can capture 5 megapixel images, has autofocus, and a LED flash. The quality of the camera was not tested by PhoneReport.

Being a high-end phone, and one of the most capable Android-based devices, the DSTL1 has GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi,  USB 2.0, but no 3G or HSDPA. There is video-conference support via the manufacturer’s F2F (Face to Face) technology, which uses eBuddy through a WLAN or GPRS connection, rather than an actual 3G video-call.

Internally the device has 4GB of memory available, and there is a slot for microSD memory cards in case there is need for memory expansion.

The phone runs on a Marvell PXA 310 processor at 624MHz, on the Google Android operating system. Selling price is expected to round US$500.

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The General Mobile DSTL1 was designed in co-operation with the Chinese company YuHua TelTech. The phone’s looks are similar, although from far, to the HTC Touch Diamond. Comparable to the latter phone, the display is larger, the camera is better, there is a memory expansion port, and of course, dual-SIM support.

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The phone is dressed in a black material surrounded by glass, which makes it very glossy, thus attracting a number of fingerprints and marks. The four buttons below the display, together with the d-pad, aren’t used often, as the DSTL1 is mainly operated with its resistive touchscreen. These type of displays, unlike capacitive ones, do not offer a good feedback to finger-operation, although in this case, user action was promptly noted by the phone.

The DSTL1 weighs 135g. The even weight distribution gave the phone a comfortable feel.

The four buttons allow the user to alternate between SIM cards in use, as well as accept and end calls.

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On the sides, the phone angles, as part of the design. At the top left corner, the brand “DSTL1” is visible, while the “General Mobile” sign is located above the display, but below the ear speaker.

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On the right side of the phone, the miniUSB port (uncovered) and the camera shutter button are located. The stylus compartment can be accessed on this side as well.

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The volume rocker can be accessed on the left side of the phone.

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The speakers can be found at the bottom of the phone.

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The top of the phone is completely clear.

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The back of the phone has a silver line dividing the back cover and the camera compartment. It is a touch of style more than anything else.

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Hot-swapping is not supported unfortunately. In order to remove or insert a memory card, one has to recur to the back cover.

Not much of testing was possible at this stage, although the software seemed to be stable. Few features that users will miss are hot-swapping, 3G (future German users from Vodafone), and the 3.5mm audio jack.

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By , Editor-in-Chief, Johannesburg office

Published on Feb 25th, 2009 GMT +2

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