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Nano-SIM Decision Delayed

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the sir-the-nano-decision-is-huge dept.

Data Storage 117

judgecorp writes "The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple's approach."

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117 comments

Fuck Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536219)

That's all I have to say really.

Re:Fuck Apple. (4, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39536381)

Yeah, fuck Apple! They're trying to get a royalty-free standard for a tiny SIM card established! How dare they!

Re:Fuck Apple. (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#39536447)

Except that Apple didn't do anything except trim down the current version of the SIM card leaving only the metal contacts. There's nothing in the proposal by Apple that Apple actually created. They are essentially saying "I'll license 'trimming a normal SIM down to size with a razor blade' for free! All we ask is that you offer the same deal if your proposal is adopted."

It's... weird.

Of course it's "royalty free." There's nothing about it which is worthy of collecting any royalties.

Re:Fuck Apple. (3, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39536463)

I'm not saying that it isn't just a trimming of the normal SIM, but Christ, they probably could try to get royalties on it some way if they wanted to, which is sad, but that's the state of the business. Even if it is just a trimming, well, it's a smaller SIM, which means more room in smartphones for battery or other goodies. Sounds good to me.

Re:Fuck Apple. (3, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#39536547)

The space trade-off isn't significant.

Tiny SIM's do punish people who use multiple SIM's, common in the third-world. If you're going to trim down the SIM, you'd better use that space to add extra spots for SIM cards!

Standards (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#39536663)

There's nothing in the proposal by Apple that Apple actually created.

When it comes to standards, less innovation is actually a good thing because it means nobody can patent it or argue that it's covered by their existing patents.

Re:Fuck Apple. (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about 2 years ago | (#39537251)

There's nothing about it which is worthy of collecting any royalties.

Like that's ever stopped anyone from trying to collect royalties.

Re:Fuck Apple. (3, Insightful)

milkmage (795746) | about 2 years ago | (#39537273)

true, but it does make it so any FRAND licensing from the IP holders for current SIM tech becomes worthless.

http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/03/apples-us-patent-application-61481114.html [fosspatents.com]
As long as Nokia adheres to FRAND licensing obligations, the Finnish company's position that it wants to cash in on its SIM card-related patents is just as legitimate, from a shareholder value point of view, as Apple's proposal that everyone adopt a royalty-free standard. But Nokia's desire to monetize standard-essential patents is not in the public interest unless its proposal offers major advantages that offset the cost of licensing and the higher transaction cost (which in connection with FRAND patents sometimes involves litigation as I see all the time now).

Nokia could really use the money. no wonder they're fighting against it.. even pomoting their own "standard" which I'm sure they have no intentions of giving away. RIM is also against the nano-SIM - wonder why.. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-29/rim-earnings-sales-fall-short-as-blackberry-demand-wanes.html [bloomberg.com]

Re:Fuck Apple. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39537547)

GSM and SIM cards are over 20 years old, most patents on existing SIM cards should be expired. There may some improvement patents that still apply to SIM cards, but it should be almost royalty free by now anyway.

Apple and their manufacturing partner did slightly more than trim the SIM with a razor blade, that also shaved 15% off it's thickness. Granted, that doesn't sound like much, but apparently it is considered a notable achievement.

Re:Fuck Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39538843)

Your sarcasm is duly noted. Note the lack of any in my statement, however:

Fuck Apple! They're trying to avoid having to pay royalties on current patents by bringing forth a new standard that adds absolutely nothing of worth.

Re:Fuck Apple. (0)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#39536597)

That's all I have to say really.

but first take the quiz [teennick.com]
That being said, bananas are more fun. They are a very versatile fruit (for the passive role, just cut off the tip).

Re:Fuck Apple. (0)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#39537077)

That's all I have to say really.

but first take the quiz [teennick.com]

That being said, bananas are more fun. They are a very versatile fruit (for the passive role, just cut off the tip).

Ah, yes. Why I come to Slashdot. Deliberately misconstrued statements and advice on how to have sex with something I never actually considered possible.

Technical question.... do you need to wrap it up in duct tape to keep it from splitting (heh he banana split)?

Never mind. Everything is better with duct tape.

Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536221)

Its small enough as it is
Havent used a micro SIM, but they look like they are just asking to get lost
Some of us often carry SIM's in wallets,etc to change them as per need.
Now, to deal with nano SIM's, a carrier will probably be needed
Whats the point?

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (3, Informative)

ScislaC (827506) | about 2 years ago | (#39536271)

My guess is the amount of space they take up in the phone is the problem. Basically, between the SIM itself and the hardware for reading it, that's a good amount of real estate.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39536593)

My guess is the amount of space they take up in the phone is the problem. Basically, between the SIM itself and the hardware for reading it, that's a good amount of real estate.

Exactly.

But the problem is the insane rush to thinness. Devices are already too thin, and making them thinner just makes them harder to use, hold, and keep rigid enough to prevent glass breakage.

The problem is that current battery technology wants to be in regular shapes, and in order to allow for a sim socket you have to surrender the entire width of the phone even though the sim only takes a portion of that width. I suspect Apple would like to insert the sim in a slot that sits perpendicular to the slab. These nano-sims are also thinner.

Molded batteries would allow the use of irregular areas inside of a device, and such batteries could better use empty space.

Linear sims (toothpick) are another possible design. The phone need only read them upon insertion via a collar around the insertion hole. Nobody bothers to write to the sim any more.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39536705)

Then it sounds like the problem is NOT with the cards which I agree have almost gotten to contact lens "Oh shit, nobody move!" levels of teeny tiny but in the reader which obviously should be redesigned. Maybe it should just be an electrical connector and then have the actually processing done on the CPU? it isn't like those aren't insanely powerful now on your average phone. or maybe a specialized ARM chip off to the side somewhere, just not built into the actual reader part.

The problem i have with changing what we have now is not only are the cards too damned teeny tiny as it is, and I agree that they have taken the whole "thin is in" thing too damned far and they are getting to the point they are too easily flexed and broken, not to mention shitty battery life, but my biggest concern is we have every company trying to pull a Rambus when it comes to patents. We have too damned many patents in the phone arena as it is, having yet another patented up the ass design is exactly the LAST thing we need.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536749)

or maybe a specialized ARM chip off to the side somewhere

Erm, wut?

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#39537333)

1 Apple has said they won't charge for patents on their design (possibly including 'providing other companies also don't charge for their patents')

2 You can thank the carriers for this, as it would be more desirable for there to be NO physical SIM card, which is what Apple would prefer, but the carriers won't have it [even with the same capabilities as the physical SIM chip, like locking to a carrier]

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) | about 2 years ago | (#39538917)

What? No, the problem is with the cards. The "reader" already is just an electrical connector: a surface mount socket with spring-loaded pins. The reason they can't make the connector smaller is because the contact layout on the card is huge.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#39539383)

The phone need only read them upon insertion via a collar around the insertion hole. Nobody bothers to write to the sim any more.

Speak for yourself.

I intentionally disabled the internal memory on my phone so the phonebook would always save entries to the SIM card memory. That way, should my phone have an accident of some sort rendering it inoperable, or I decide to just get a new phone, I don't lose my contacts because I can't transfer them off the old phone and onto the new one. Assuming the SIM is unharmed I just remove it from the wreckage of my old phone and put it into the new one. Power up and I'm back in business, phone active and phonebook all there.

This is one of the primary reasons I use GSM cell phones and never even considered getting service with a CDMA provider way back when I first got a cell (10+ years ago)..

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 years ago | (#39539955)

while that is a useful feature, with smart phones it is a non issue, as your contacts and everything else is getting backed up to a computer you own.

What i am waiting for is not only a dual sim phone, but a dual OS phone. So that each sim is in it's own self contained area. That way I can carry just one cell phone, with a sim and OS for work and have a Sim and OS for home. Separating out apps, contacts, everything. Also if the phone is lost or you quit, etc work can wipe their phone OS and you still have the same hardware.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536639)

Well, I've not upgraded my phone for a relatively long time, but my 2 year old N79 seems to have plenty of spare space
Maybe the focus should be on a bit more modularity and battery life instead of thickness

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#39536431)

They need to resolve the inherent tradeoff between the ease of losing it and the difficulty of finding it again if you do.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536455)

It's too easy to change it, and those pesky customers are actually do it.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#39536559)

The goal is to end up with multi-SIM phones so you aren't keeping them in your wallet, you keep them installed in the phone and pick the SIM for the function without having to change them.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39536739)

Dual and triple SIM phones are available and they use Mini SIMs, not even Micro SIMs.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#39536855)

I saw the T-Mobile SIM of a colleague and it was a regular size one with the option to break out the center piece so it would become a micro SIM.

That mini SIM still had some plastic around the contacts so yes it would be possible to cut it down further without a change in design or technology.

The best know apparatuses that expect a micro SIM are from Apple and yes it does save space.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (2)

Gerzel (240421) | about 2 years ago | (#39537175)

The point is to make you buy a second phone rather than trade out sims.

Ideally companies like Apple will make a brighter future where the physical hardware of a phone is connected to a contract seamlessly and the only way to change things is to by a whole new unit.

Re:Whats wrong with the current SIM? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#39539393)

Kinda like old CDMA phones, right?

Yes, lets go back to the Bad Old Days.

Fingers (4, Insightful)

symes (835608) | about 2 years ago | (#39536273)

I'm struggling to handle these things with my fat fingers already. And devices are getting so small that you have to wonder whether, if we want any foorm of interaction, we are on the edge of small enough. Now capacity and power, pile it on.

Re:Fingers (3, Interesting)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 2 years ago | (#39536353)

Maybe that's the point - they don't want *you* to be able to change it yourself. That seems like Apple's style.

I agree. Micro sim cards are bad enough already. If they get smaller, I'll need tweezers and a jeweler's loop to deal with them.

Re:Fingers (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536407)

loupe, fuckhead

Re:Fingers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536469)

I have no idea what a loupe is. You would be the fuckhead on the other hand though.

Re:Fingers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39539445)

I have no idea what a loupe is.

Ignorant, stupid, and proud of it is no way to go through life.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=loupe [lmgtfy.com]

You would be the fuckhead on the other hand though.

How eloquent. Wilde himself could not have put it so well.

Re:Fingers (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39536473)

I agree. Micro sim cards are bad enough already. If they get smaller, I'll need tweezers and a jeweler's loop to deal with them.

Most people put a SIM into one phone, and it stays there until it dies, they lose the phone, or they upgrade to a better phone. If using a tweezers once is a big problem for you, maybe you should inform your service provider at the time of purchase of your sausage fingers. I'm sure they'll install it for you. Oh wait... they usually do that anyway.

Minaturization has at least one benefit: The smaller and lighter the electronics become, the more space there is for other things... like that 70s-era battery tech powering the damn thing. And as things become smaller, they usually become more energy efficient. Unless it has "Intel Inside" printed on it... then abandon all hope. :\

Re:Fingers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536479)

Then lose some weight fatty.

Re:Fingers (1)

PNutts (199112) | about 2 years ago | (#39536649)

And devices are getting so small that you have to wonder whether, if we want any foorm of interaction, we are on the edge of small enough. Now capacity and power, pile it on.

That sounds a lot like a "640K ought to be enough for anybody" statement. Without reducing the size of the components that additional capacity and power will be the same size or larger. You've arbitrarily chosen "now" as the time for your relevation. Thank you for not saying "small enough" 30 years ago when we were still amazed a phone could be portable and stylish with their own bag and shoulder strap.

Re:Fingers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39537617)

You misread that. GP meant small enough to hold. He and the person before are talking about phones being physically too small for an adult make to manipulate when changing out SIMs or in some cases just use the damn thing.

Backward compatibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536277)

Why do you want to break it in something as simple as a SIM?

Re:Backward compatibility (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#39539355)

Precisely! And if one has to, why not do it w/ an existing standard form factor, such as micro-SD (like Nokia is asking) or xD? That way, at least someone can make SIMs w/ flash memory companions, and thereby increase their capacity to the point that people won't have to keep things like contacts in phones anymore.

Why a SIM? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536293)

I'd honestly prefer not to have a SIM and do some form of activation either OTA (over the air) or tethered. I do see the benefit of a card that can be swapped for obvious reasons such as going to a water park (where you take the ultra cheap, who cares if it dies phone), or travelling to a different country where you might buy a prepaid SIM on a local carrier. However we should be able to solve that OTA in some fashion. Perhaps the phones come up with the ability to connect to a clearing house for personalization similar to how they come up able to make emergency services calls? Enter your credentials and they get hashed and sent to the service which then presents back your options "activate device on existing plan, disabling existing phone", "purchase a travel pre-paid account", etc. Why must we have physical cards to prove identity?

Re:Why a SIM? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536347)

Because without a separate card, you get the Verizon/Sprint problem of refusing to activate devices that don't exist in their ESN database; i.e. devices that they didn't sell themselves at markup on extended contract. The SIM standard at least gives the telcos a (semi?)-secure method of identifying subscribers for billing purposes, while keeping them out of the business of dictating which devices are allowed on the network.

Re:Why a SIM? (1)

bartoku (922448) | about 2 years ago | (#39537619)

Let us say Verizon was a GSM carrier today, what stops Verizon from white-listing IMEI numbers?

Heck we do not have to imagine, what if I brought a non Verizon LTE device with 700 MHz Class 13 support to Verizon?
There LTE phones have SIM cards, can I use the foreign device device on Verizon's network?
Everything I have read says no, Verizon still blocks non Verizon devices, but I am still looking for verification.
If that is true, then the whole premise of SIM cards freeing us goes right out the window.

The more perplexing question is why does AT&T not white-list IMEI numbers, they even refuse to even blacklist the IMEI numbers of stolen devices: US Mobile Carriers Won't Brick Stolen Phones [slashdot.org].
Is it because they understand that the more devices, the more customers who will buy service?
Is AT&T perhaps less evil than Verizon somehow?

SIM cards simply protect the carriers, but making authentication to their networks tied into protected hardware.
I see no advantages to end users that a software SIM would not trump a dozen times over.
SIM cards are the devil, give us soft-SIM tech already, then we can have thinner phones!

Re:Why a SIM? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#39539381)

I'd say that for the US market, SIM cards do the exact opposite of protecting carriers. In other markets, where service providers don't bundle the phone along w/ a 2 year service agreement and a consumer has to go out of his way to buy it, SIMs help ensure that no matter what the phone, any carrier can get any customer who it gives a SIM to. In that way, a SIM levels the playing field in the rest of the world.

However, for the US model, where phones are bundled w/ the services, I don't get why anybody - AT&T, T-Mobile are GSM at all! After all, they sell a phone @ subsidized rates to a customer in return for a service contract, but anytime the customer signs up w/ another carrier, the carrier gets compensated indirectly by the replacing carrier, but the customer now has an extra phone, which is worthless. He can get it unlocked and give it to somebody, but somehow, the business model here just doesn't make sense. It makes more sense for a Verizon or Sprint to sell a SIM-less phone to a customer, and when that customer switches, the phone is automatically worthless.

Re:Why a SIM? (1)

bartoku (922448) | about 2 years ago | (#39539439)

I'd say that for the US market, SIM cards do the exact opposite of protecting carriers.

When I say that a SIM card only protects the carrier, I am mean in contrast to a Soft-SIM solution. Note that there is no Soft-SIM solution implemented.
A Soft-SIM solution would allow any carrier to give a user Soft-SIM info to register the user, the user then enters the data in their phone of choice, same level playing field currently in the world.
A hardware SIM is very hard to hack, hiding and processing the user keys in hardware out of reach of the phone software or hardware.

However, for the US model, where phones are bundled w/ the services, I don't get why anybody - AT&T, T-Mobile are GSM at all!

GSM is technically superior to CDMA, so in the aim to maximize spectrum AT&T/T-Mobile chose GSM over CDMA, Verizon and Sprint were just early adopters of digital tech and locked in to CDMA.

It makes more sense for a Verizon or Sprint to sell a SIM-less phone to a customer, and when that customer switches, the phone is automatically worthless.

Carriers make money of service, they generally are selling the phone hardware at a lose to entice customers into 2 year commitments.
Verizon seems to reject Sprint hardware in order to entice new customers to buy a new phone and lock into a contract.
However it seems to me that Verizon would be wiser to accept Sprint hardware and lure the customer into contract with some lower monthly rate that is still profitable to them.

Re:Why a SIM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39539581)

GSM is technically superior to CDMA, so in the aim to maximize spectrum AT&T/T-Mobile chose GSM over CDMA, Verizon and Sprint were just early adopters of digital tech and locked in to CDMA.

just to continue the apples-and-oranges of the original comparison,
yes cdma sucks so hard that gsm uses cdma channel access!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_division_multiple_access

Re:Why a SIM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39538737)

The Japanese carrier Docomo uses SIM cards, and yet has whitelisted phones sold by Docomo shops via IMEI for a long time. I heard they have become less restrictive in the recent past, but there is still some sort of filtering occurring.

Re:Why a SIM? (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39536373)

So you are not as locked into what your carrier wants to sell you.

Should also be mandated to be universal on all carriers/phones. ( and automatic unlocking when you have paid off your subsidy )

Slashdot hypocrites (1, Interesting)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 2 years ago | (#39536307)

Tme for all the hypocrites to come out against apple who is offering a free, perpetual license for the relevant patents, in favor of those who won't do the same, only because they have an irrational hatred of apple. Just look at the first post.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536331)

Or the people that see apple has done nothing to improve upon the current sim card design and would actually like to see advancement.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39536393)

Except, you know, making it smaller so that smartphones can make use of the additional space.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39536545)

Do you have any idea how irrelevant that amount of space is? The standard Mini-SIM is 25x15mm. It's tiny. The Micro-SIM is 15x12mm. It's about as small as it can be without getting lost instantly when you remove it from the phone. The Nano-SIM is 12x9mm. Your phone would save 6x12x0.76mm. A typical smartphone has far more wasted space than that in various places. For applications where that much space actually is important, there is the embedded SIM, which is only 5x6mm.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536981)

So let's see: Companies that actually make and design phones want SIMs to be smaller.

Some random dork on Slashdot thinks this is "irrelevant".

I wonder which one here has a better idea of what they are talking about.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39537051)

I don't believe you for a second. Do you realize how much extra Pixie Dust you could cram into 54 mm3 ?

Just that much more awesomeness!

And some people think that Apple doesn't innovate.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536343)

I wrote "Fuck Apple." because they're trying to fuck up what doesn't need fucking up, and I bet their intention behind making the SIM smaller is that people will complain it's too small and magically Apple will try and introduce software SIMs, fucking over everyone who wants physical SIM cards.

So yeah, fuck Apple.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (2, Funny)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39536401)

Yeah, fuck Apple because a bunch of unfounded speculation!

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 2 years ago | (#39537391)

Not much speculation is really needed, just look at all the current portable Apple products with memory card slots...

They prefer to do away with SD/microSD slots in favour of internal flash memory, which they charge the fucking earth for, so either they do that so they can rape your wallet and/or they do so because there's more physical space to cram more features in because there's no card slot.
If they didn't have a SIM card slot it would give them more realestate space and less headaches when designing their shiny products, and less physical user interactivity.

I forsee them eventually creating devices that have no physical ports on them at all, so everything is done wirelessly (charging & connectivity).

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39536349)

... offering a free, perpetual license ...

I won't believe it until I see that they fully assign the whole patent to the EFF.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39536395)

Tme for all the hypocrites to come out against apple who is offering a free, perpetual license for the relevant patents, in favor of those who won't do the same, only because they have an irrational hatred of apple. Just look at the first post.

The are offering a 'free' license only to anyone who licenses their patents under the same conditions. That's not really 'free' that's 'Apple is tired of getting charged license fees by people who've been doing phone R&D rather longer than they have'...

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (3, Informative)

willy_me (212994) | about 2 years ago | (#39536499)

The are offering a 'free' license only to anyone who licenses their patents under the same conditions. That's not really 'free' that's 'Apple is tired of getting charged license fees by people who've been doing phone R&D rather longer than they have'...

Not really, they are offering the design for 'free' to the standards committee so long as all others with possible patents covering the design do the same. If they get their way, anybody who wants to utilize a the new standard would be free of licensing costs. In no way is Apple trying to get a free ride, they want the ride to be free for everyone.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#39536835)

And as the "new standard" is little more than a smaller version of the "current standard" (read the proposals), Apple looks like they are trying to do an end run around the other patent holders and get a nice license from them for free...

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536867)

They are trying to get a free ride. I can bet you that Apple currently pays a licensing cost for SIM patents. Probably small, $.01-$.05, per unit. They want it to be 0 for everyone. Essentially saying, we patented cutting all the plastic off a SIM (trivial "innovation"). We will license that to you as long as you don't charge us $.01-$.05 per SIM.

Is this bad? No, all standards should have an exact licensing costs defined at the creation of the standard. The cost should scale down until the patent die out. Don't agree or want too much for your patent? You are left out of the standard.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#39537047)

That depends on how much they'd be obligated to pay vs how much their patents will bring in -- or their obligation vs the obligation of their competitors.

Apple doesn't have the patent portfolio of long-time players like Nokia, RIM, and Samsung.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (0)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | about 2 years ago | (#39538317)

Tme for all the hypocrites to come out against apple who is offering a free, perpetual license for the relevant patents, in favor of those who won't do the same, only because they have an irrational hatred of apple. Just look at the first post.

The are offering a 'free' license only to anyone who licenses their patents under the same conditions. That's not really 'free' that's 'Apple is tired of getting charged license fees by people who've been doing phone R&D rather longer than they have'...

Who cares, Nokia said Apple doesn't have any patents on the new design - are you calling them liars?

“We are not aware of any Apple Intellectual Property which it considers essential to its nano-SIM proposal. In light of this, Apple’s proposal for royalty-free licensing seems no more than an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others.” – Nokia

In fact only they have patents which they won't release if their design isn't taken. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/28/nokia_sim_again/ [theregister.co.uk] Class act.

Re:Slashdot hypocrites (1)

oxdas (2447598) | about 2 years ago | (#39538947)

The concern for me is this: Apple has proven that they are not for open standards. They have demonstrated that they will do whatever is necessary to feed their bottom line. So, the question I immediately ask is what are they getting out of this and will it eventually hurt me? If this was a company with a history of support for open standards and opposition to patents, I wouldn't be as inclined to question their motives.

Actual story (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39536313)

Negotiations are at a standstill because the corporations involved can't determine the best way to rape the customer. Apple wants to shove it down their throats. RIM wants to shove it up their butt. Nokia isn't sure whether to go for the crotch, or the ear. They also haven't decided whether they'll take turns, or do it all at once. But they are all in agreement that whichever route they go, what they shove into the customer will be both smaller and more expensive than anything designed yet.

Re:Actual story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536341)

Yeah, those SIM costs have really been crushing over the years.

The real problem isn't that they are too big (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536345)

It's that they aren't very usefull. Give them a bit more storage capacity, and make a proper, full-featured, standardized format for storing contact data and the like on it. Last time I moved a sim card from one phone to another, I ended up having to manually edit all of the contact details to fix things because phone manufacturers can't get their shit together.

Re:The real problem isn't that they are too big (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39536583)

Why would you want to store contacts on the SIM? If the phone is lost, typically the SIM is lost too. You should back up the contacts onto another machine. That's why most older phones support SyncML and other open standards for syncing and Android phones support a proprietary standard for storing all of your personal data where Google can index it.

The purpose of the SIM is being an isolated crypto chip for handshaking with the network that can't be compromised as a result of the phone's OS being compromised.

Re:The real problem isn't that they are too big (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 2 years ago | (#39537295)

It's not the limitations of a contacts list, it's that you can't store much in the way of SMS on it, let alone audio/video files.

If they produced something that was a cross between a SIM and a 32GB TF card, _that_ would be very useful, it would mean you could take your contacts/SMS/email/pictures/videos/apps and whatever smartphone you put it into, _that_ would be your phone, meaning easier backing up of your data (just plug it into an adaptor for a PC and press 'copy') and easier to switch phones in the case of upgrades or replacements.

Many reasons (1)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#39537357)

If you regularly swap out sims between phones (not just when you replace a phone) having the contacts on the SIM is very convenient, and infinitely more reliable that trying to perform an N-directional sync using SyncML.

Also every single one of the Smart Phone OSs have decided to abandon SyncML, and the alternatives they offer all involve various cloud services. Even if I was okay with storing that information in the cloud (which I am not), it doesn't help me, because my 10+ years of backup contact info isn't on the cloud right now, it's on my computer.

Want to transfer all user state selectively... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39537543)

What would really be nice is to allow all user state on the phone to be replicated into the SIM and vice versa. For smart phones this should include applications, contact list, and application data files.

Some people want to move a SIM between phones because they have their nice phone and their crappy beach phone. But others want to swap a phone between SIMs as they travel, etc. For the latter, you want the user state to stay on the phone while just changing the provider and phone number. Still, others might like to make a backup they can use to restore the state on a new phone after loss, or on a new upgraded phone. Or they might want to depersonalize a phone they are going to lend to a visiting friend for a week or two...

Re:Many reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39537699)

Couldn't someone just write an app that does syncml. I would suspect it to be trivial. The only people how might get that shaft are apple users.

Re:The real problem isn't that they are too big (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#39536887)

The newer SIM's and all micro SIM's support storing your contacts etc.

Re:The real problem isn't that they are too big (1)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#39537305)

Note the "proper, full-featured" part of the post. All SIM have had basic support for contacts, but the standard is missing many important features that all phones today use (like a single contact having multiple numbers ). They also have very low limits on the number of contacts you can store.

Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (2)

wanderfowl (2534492) | about 2 years ago | (#39536363)

Why do we even have SIM cards at all? My impression is that they're basically read-only storage for a set of identifiers/credentials used by the carrier. Why not just allow the customer or company to input/transfer those credentials as needed? Or just allow a customer to fire up a new phone, input a username and password for their account, and then have the phone download the information needed to some bit of internal storage?

I'm actually asking, as I honestly don't know. What does the continued existence of a read-only SIM card which must be inserted into the phone win us?

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39536387)

Last time i heard they also store your contacts and things, so its not just read-only.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39536391)

Plain and simple: to prevent fraud and impersonation.

With a physical component, there is a 1:1 relationship between the phone and the account, give or take some swapping around. So you know who owns the SIM and who is to be billed.

If you use software/configuration downloads, there's a significant potential for phone fraud, with people "hacking" your ID info and using it to get "free calls" at your expense.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536425)

Sim card cloners already exist for such purposes.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (1)

robmv (855035) | about 2 years ago | (#39536651)

So? The solution is kill security instead of improve it? If someone find a smart card vulnerability then we should remove all smart cards instead of fixing them? Stupid way of thinking. Hey a website has a vulnerability, just remove passwords!!!

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39536843)

SIM cloners exist, but currently you can't implement one in software that runs on a smartphone. That's the entire point of the SIM. The smartphone OS does not need to be trusted by the network.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39536417)

Some people want to be able to swap out SIM cards. While not everyone needs this, it is useful in some cases.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536577)

Why can't this be done via software programming? Just upload a data file to your phone.

That is something the IETF and the phone mfgr's should be standardizing on rather than a new bullshit SIM format.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39536891)

Why can't this be done via software programming? Just upload a data file to your phone.

Security. If it's just a file, then you compromise the OS and you can copy it. Then you can just copy it to another phone and start running up that user's phone bill. With a SIM, you need physical access to the phone to clone it.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39537693)

I swap my sim from my iPhone 4 to my jailbroken iPhone 3gs when I want to tether. I don't bother ever updating my 3gs beyond cydia but the 4 I can keep updated easily. Only bummer is I have to use a sim adapter because the 4 uses a microsim. I suspect Apple likes making it difficult to swap sims between different generations of iPhones.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (2)

Whuffo (1043790) | about 2 years ago | (#39538901)

The ability to switch out SIM cards is actually quite useful. But those who think that America is the whole world won't understand that.

I live in Asia; we've got a larger population than the US, and many, many more cell phones. They're all GSM phones and every one has a SIM card (or two, maybe three).

Here's how it comes in handy: cell carrier X decides that all calls to customers on cell carrier X are free. What if you're a customer of cell carrier Y? Just swap in a X SIM; they're available everywhere for a buck or so. Need to make a long call to someone on carrier Z? Swap the SIM and away you go.

That's called "freedom of choice" - too bad that Americans have forgotten about it. We pay about $5 per month for our cell service - why are you paying so much for the same thing on a locked down phone with a two year contract?

When they tell you that it costs that much to provide the service they're lying to you. It actually costs that much to provide the service, and also provide an ultra-luxurious lifestyle to the executives of the cell phone company.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39536437)

They could certainly stand to be rather more featurefull(given that computational power has gotten slightly cheaper since they were introduced; but SIMs aren't just a little slab of ROM.

They implement a full processor on board, to do some sort of challenge/response cryptographic ID for verification purposes(considerably more robust than your usual password. It turns out that carriers can get their thumbs out of their asses if there's a potential for billing problems not in their favor...)

They also provide some writeable storage space for contacts information. Frequently not enough, and only a few of the fields are robustly supported across all handsets.

Given the increasingly low cost of storage and computational power, it is arguably time for an overhaul, at least of the movable data storage part; but they definitely have their uses.

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39536443)

The SIM isn't just a memory card. It also has onboard processing. Not much, but just enough to perform a handshake: The network actually authenticates the SIM itsself, with the phone just acting as a network interface and power supply. That way it is practically impossible to clone a SIM (There are ways, but they are far beyond the abilities of even most specialists in the field). As for why they are used, it's a regulatory thing intended to decouple the network operators from control of the devices, which could be seen as a conflict of interest or as a way to prevent customers from moving to a new operator (If they couldn't just move the SIM, they'd have to buy a completly new device).

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536461)

Why do cars have keys (or blocks to push into a slot, like the Prius)?

I mean, we could always use the radio unlock code or something similar.

Oh wait, because that's a pain in the ass. Just like entering credentials every time I decide to transfer my account from phone A to phone B. And anything that's a pain in the ass, even if only done once, will cause a LOT of heartache with support. And the last thing your phone company wants is a call from an 80 year old lady who can barely read the numbers on her already too small and complicated phone to have to type in a GUID.

"Alright, now we're at the GUID screen. Please type in [reads phonetically] 21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D"
Twenty minutes later:
"Okay, I typed this: 21EdwardCharlie2020-3AdamEdwardAdam-1069-AlphaToDouglasDouglas-O8OOTooBee3O3O9Douglas. That took a long time! The phone says something about invalid this or that."
"[just fucking shoot me] Yeah, you don't type in the words. Let's try again."
"I just want to talk to someone. Can't your phone just work now? Verizon said their phones just work right away."
"No, wanderfowl said this is a great idea and our company adopted it"
"Wanderfowl is the problem? Why haven't you fired him? I'm just going to return this and get the verizon phone to I can call my son incessantly"
"We can't fire him. He's a poster on slashdot."
"A poster? He's in some kind of movie? I have to go now, the bus will be here soon and I want to get to verizon before they close."

Re:Why do we even have SIM cards at all? (2)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | about 2 years ago | (#39536931)

It's not read-only, the SIM content is upgradable over the air using the SIM Toolkit system. It's a protocol allowing the SIM, which is a small computer (can be programmed in Java nowadays, see the JavaCard specs), to talk to a provisioning system in the operator backbone through the modem, independently of any support on the phone application processor.

In addition to the private user credentials, the SIM also contains some operator private information like roaming partner operators and their priority/preference order, and information driving the network selection process. Operators want to keep all this confidential. So operators that can control the full phone (common in the US) may not care about a SIM. But if they can't control the phone, because some users can buy unlocked phones on their own, then the SIM becomes useful. It allows the operator keeping all this information private as the SIM is secure. And the SIM belongs and is chosen by the operator itself, so they can trust it.

People will stop worrying what RIM wants in months (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39536487)

RIM really is gambling on their new OS but they're not the market leader they were. Canada seems to be cursed this way by having its tech giants implode. Good luck to RIM. Maybe it'll work out for them. In the mean time, given their horrible track record for innovation over the last few years, maybe they should zip it and go along with market evolution rather than say 'We're the people who make Blackberry' as though that was a magic spell.

Re:People will stop worrying what RIM wants in mon (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39537247)

Canada seems to be cursed this way by having its tech giants implode

Fortunately RIM does seem to be imploding instead of exploding as NorTel did when raped by abusive foreign "management" that was supposed to be leading the company, not taking it for every last "early termination" option they could.

SIM design (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 2 years ago | (#39536565)

I don't care about the size of the SIM chips, have you seen the speed of these stupid things, they make a 386 look speedy!

Patented?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39537445)

Uh?

Why would they even CONSIDER a patented standard for something like this?!?

Let apple keep EVERYTHING closed. (0)

GeXX (449863) | about 2 years ago | (#39537795)

Why do people even care? Let apple run with whatever sim they want. Everything else is locked down on that igarbage, the stupid sim card may as well be locked down as well. The industry doesn't have to use crap that apple wants to use.

Does anyone besides apple even use microsims? (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 2 years ago | (#39538003)

I have no issue with the microsim (although I think it's lunacy to make it even smaller) but really you'd think they'd wait for everyone to adopt the microsim before pushing.

Most people I know with microsims are using theirs in adapters.
I think apple only thinks of the US shores, there's countries like China and India will hundreds of millions of devices, a switchc isn't an easy thing to do.

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