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Duet D888 dual-SIM handset and Orange multi-line: Phoning multiple identities

Keeping your phone personalities separate could be easier thanks to the Duet D888 dual-SIM phone, which supports two SIM cards, and a new plan from Orange that packs two numbers into one SIM

Two-Face. Jekyll and Hyde. Mild-mannered reporter by day, crime-fighting caped crusader by night. These secret-identity types have a problem -- they can't be dragging around two phones to sort their work calls from their crimefighting/evil-doing calls.

If you're a schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur, you might consider therapy the dual-SIM phone -- it can support two SIM cards, and two numbers, at the same time. They've been around for ages, but you had to delve into the murky world of Chinese-handset resellers or eBay to get one.

Now our perfectly sane chums at our sister site Crave US have got their hands on the Duet D888, which is manufactured by US company Beyond E-Tech and sold under the brand umbrella of yellow-covered nature mag National Geographic. The handset is unlocked so you can pop in the two SIM cards of your choice -- work and home, UK and abroad, wife and boyfriend, whatever.

The candybar handset has tri-band GSM, so you can roam the world, but strangely lacks the North American 850 band. Our Yankee compatriots tell us you should get decent coverage with just the 1900 band, but it'll be spotty in places.

There's no 3G, and the rest of the specs are respectable, but not mind-blowing: a 2-megapixel camera, media player, FM radio and a 1GB memory card. The handset is available to buy from the Beyond E-tech Web site for $349 (£230).

Closer to home, Orange has come up with another alternative for people juggling multiple phone personalities. Orange Personal Line lets you have two numbers on the same handset, with only one SIM card. The service sets up two lines on your phone, and you can see which line calls are coming in on, check voicemail on each line, and make calls from either one through a menu.

Orange is pitching the service at business customers who want to ensure their Strictly Come Dancing votes don't end up on their expense forms. It's mostly supported on business-oriented Nokia phones such as the E71, but Orange tells us more supported handsets are on the way.

The two-number plan is available from the Orange Web site as a free 30-day rolling contract with minute-by-minute call charges, or a £9.79 per month plan that includes 150 minutes and 300 texts, or 225 minutes and 100 texts.