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Ideas in the air

Week 50, 2008

Sometimes, ideas are in the air, several people realize technology is maturing, and market demand is emerging for a new development. Working with available technology subsets, and combining them, they provide new developments that have a lot in common, without having to communicate with each other.

In our industry, several of us felt there might be a need to provide large memory and security in a single object that would plug in a mobile phone. The first attempt to answer this potential need happened several years ago when mSystems, later acquired by SanDisk, proposed the MegaSIM, based on Flash memory, allowing very large memory sizes in a SIM form factor. When MegaSIMs were announced, they were seen as a major breakthrough in mobile telecommunication development. Several years later, one has to admit the need for very large memory SIM did not emerge.

Several other companies investigated other paths for putting together security and memory. A few months ago, both Certgate, from Germany, and Go-trust, from Taiwan, announced MicroSD cards with a built-in SIM chip. The objective is still the same: combining large memory and security in a single item. Just the form factor has changed. Again, Certgate and Go-Trust did not work together, they just caught the same ideas floating in the air.

The latest materialization of ideas in the air happens this week with Giesecke & Devrient and Tyfone, a US company, announcing products combining a Micro SD card form factor, a secure smart card chip, and contactless communication in a single object. The objective is to be able to provide contactless communication to handsets without built-in NFC capabilities. Seemingly, there is still some development to be done before these developments evolve in mature industrialized products. And we will see if ideas in the air materialize into products and then into markets.

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

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