×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Smaller SIM Format Standardized

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the easier-to-lose dept.

Cellphones 83

New submitter mk1004 writes "ETSI members have approved a new, smaller SIM format. 'The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.' Nokia is not happy about the decision, as they believe their version was superior, but they say they're prepared to license the patents essential to the standard."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

83 comments

So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 years ago | (#40183985)

So what was better about Nokia's design?

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (5, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#40184029)

Nokia would hold the patents.

Nokia still holds the patents (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40184085)

The new design, being really similar to the old one, also means that Nokia holds the patents for it already.

That is what Nokia is saying they are licensing out, that they were threatening not to allow licensing of before... but they will go along to move the mobile industry forward.

Re:Nokia still holds the patents (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40184241)

And because they really need the money, since they are circling the drain.

(sort of) true but irrelevant (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40184505)

Again, Nokia would be the ones licensing out the patents either way. They truly only cared about their design being chosen because they thought it was better. Them needing money or not does not enter in as a factor.

I would not count out Nokia or Windows Mobile yet. Microsoft has too much money and needs WM to succeed too badly to give up without a huge fight. And Microsoft has only just begun, they were waiting really for alignment with Windows 8. Win or lose, the battle will be interesting.

Re:(sort of) true but irrelevant (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40184585)

They first said they would not license the needed patents.

I think MS is willing to spend their war chest to make that happen, but I don't think they will continue to prop up Nokia if times get lean enough.

Re:(sort of) true but irrelevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184723)

I saw this mentioned in another thread about MS, but all MS has to do is just make the next ActiveSync contain a patent, and only allow Apple (who licensed AS and Exchange) and MS to use it. Next version of Exchange, have it as the only valid protocol.

Boom. Everyone else would be locked out of the Exchange ecosystem and there would be zero Google, RIM, et. al. could do about it. Antitrust? Good luck.

Re:(sort of) true but irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185981)

thats why you license a product... not to lock people out but to make money...

Re:(sort of) true but irrelevant (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#40186385)

Again, Nokia would be the ones licensing out the patents either way. They truly only cared about their design being chosen because they thought it was better. Them needing money or not does not enter in as a factor.

Not really.

The big gorilla is Apple. The company gobbling up the majority of profits in the entire sector.

Right now, Apple's got NO patents in the ring, so to make an iPhone, they have to license it all. Their nano SIM standard is covered by an Apple patent that Apple has vowed to license for free. However, it means Apple has patents now, and in the whole FRAND business, it means Apple will pay Nokia/RIM/Motorola less money because of it.

That's why everyone is upset - Apple's making tons of money, and now they'll be paid LESS money for their patents.

Standards committees are all about politics.

Re:(sort of) true but irrelevant (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | about 2 years ago | (#40194913)

Right now, Apple's got NO patents in the ring, so to make an iPhone, they have to license it all. Their nano SIM standard is covered by an Apple patent that Apple has vowed to license for free. However, it means Apple has patents now, and in the whole FRAND business, it means Apple will pay Nokia/RIM/Motorola less money because of it.

That's why everyone is upset - Apple's making tons of money, and now they'll be paid LESS money for their patents.

And by "Everybody" you mean "Absolutely nobody but Nokia/RIM/Motorola".

Re:Nokia still holds the patents (3, Funny)

Stellian (673475) | about 2 years ago | (#40184597)

The new design, being really similar to the old one, also means that Nokia holds the patents for it already.

Here's a radical idea: keep the same electrical interface with the old SIM, arrange the contact pads in a way that makes sense, and simply shrink it in size [patent pending].

Why we are unable to make the most trivial technical advances without the whole thing degenerating in a intellectual property shit throwing contest ? Does anybody still believe this state of affairs promotes the Progress of Science and useful Arts ?

Re:Nokia still holds the patents (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#40185017)

Does anybody still believe this state of affairs promotes the Progress of Science and useful Arts ?

It does if you re define useful arts to mean Lawyers.

Re:Nokia still holds the patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40192111)

Why we are unable to make the most trivial technical advances without the whole thing degenerating in a intellectual property shit throwing contest ?

Well, that's a simple one. Money!

Re:Nokia still holds the patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40186317)

apple owns patents on the drawer that is needed on their standard

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 2 years ago | (#40192713)

You joke but this is also the reason they and Apple shat all over the HTML 5 video standard using OGG.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184053)

Even though it maintained incompatibility with all prior standards (just like the Apple version), it could be changed without voiding the warranty.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (2)

Korin43 (881732) | about 2 years ago | (#40184127)

Nokia's design does the thing where you push it in once and locks in, and you push it in again and it pops out. The idea is that they're easier to remove.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#40185071)

the microsd ports in my phones do that!
smells like prior art to me...

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#40185823)

As far as I'm aware, Nokia doesn't hold the patent on push-push, and if they do it's prior art because they likely made it prior art.

Two of the three designs incorporate push-push. The one which doesn't is Apple's. It requires a SIM tray, which Apple does hold a patent on.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (2)

s.o.terica (155591) | about 2 years ago | (#40184139)

The Nokia format was much worse in one crucial way related to usability: it was not pin-compatible with existing SIM and Micro-SIM cards so it could not be used in a device that used one of the larger formats without an adapter. Which means that the one advantage that SIM has over an serial number-based activation system would have been largely mooted.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

SrLnclt (870345) | about 2 years ago | (#40188305)

Wasn't the whole point of a SIM card to easily move your data and contacts from one phone to the next? What good is this if there is a new standard SIM card format every time (or every other time) you get a new phone?

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#40189089)

I'm going senile. I read this far down before I realized we're talking about those phone cards (SIMs), not memory modules (SIMMs), and then, upon a moment's reflection, that people don't use SIMMs anymore anyhow, wtf was I thinking?

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40184155)

As far as I can tell, it would have been slightly smaller (about 10mm x 8mm instead of 12.3mm x 8.8mm) and would have had a different layout for the contacts. The winning design can also be jammed sideways into a 12mm wide mini-SIM slot and get stuck, which Nokia designed theirs to avoid.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184363)

right but at the cost of it being completely incompatable with older cards, or with older devices since there was no adapter that could fit the newer cards into a older slot.

Today could could take a micro SIM out of a iPad2 and put it in your old school Nokia phone no problem with a adapter. Nokia wanted to prevent that kind of backward compatibility

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40184521)

Sooner or later, we'll have to break compatibility. Apple broke compatibility with OS 9 software, DDR3 broke compatibility with DDR2, SATA broke compatibility with PATA, etc. It's great if you keep supporting older devices, but sooner or later you have to move on. Look at all of the issues Microsoft has supporting legacy apps and devices on the latest versions of Windows. Imagine how much sleeker and less buggy Windows would be if MS just said "Ok, Windows 8 will not work with any programs created for Windows 7 or earlier and will require DDR3 memory, SATA hard drive, USB mice and keyboards and a Blu-ray player".

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#40185461)

Yes, but for what advantages? You only want to change standards when there are benefits that significantly outweigh the costs of breaking compatibility. So far, I've not heard any compelling advantage to Nokia's proposal, it appears to be changing the standard for the sake of changing the standard (or more cynically, for the purpose of establishing a new patent pool with which the IP owners can extract more money for a longer period).

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40193205)

The only time I saw any advantages to SIMs is when they had a flash memory card in a SIM form factor. I thought that if this single device could be used to store both the carrier data (that activates a phone instantly) as well as basic phone data such as contacts (moving that function away from the phone so that more detailed contact lists, such as main#, home#, work#. photo of contact (if applicable) etc could be stored the way it currently is in the phone itself) and a few things one would like to keep constant when upgrading phones, such as wallpaper, one could have used this. For other multimedia - videos, photos, music, as well as games, the separate micro SD card could still be used.

Honestly, I never saw the advantages of SIMs if the contact list was forced to be a dumb list, as opposed to a more intelligent one where one one can do what one can w/ the phone memory itself. Incidentally, any idea about how much memory there is in SIMs?

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#40185693)

They'd sell a fraction of the copies and lose their monopoly (they might not even end up with a double digit install base). The only reason to use windows is the massive amount of pre-existing software. Take away that, and there's no reason not to use another solution, especially when those have a ton of software already written for it, and are cheap or free.

Also, your examples on hardware are just moronic. A good analogy would be dropping support for DOS and 16 bit windows apps. The OS doesn't care what type of memory it uses (that's a BIOS issue), the code to run the old style mouse/keyboard ports is minimal and not a cause of problems (I doubt it's even been touched in years other than reflect changes in interface to the rest of the OS), and I'd be willing to bet more people use the optical drive to play CDs than Blu-ray by an order of magnitude.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | about 2 years ago | (#40195003)

As far as I can tell, it would have been slightly smaller (about 10mm x 8mm instead of 12.3mm x 8.8mm) and would have had a different layout for the contacts. The winning design can also be jammed sideways into a 12mm wide mini-SIM slot and get stuck, which Nokia designed theirs to avoid.

Which everybody but Nokia's engineers could easily disprove.

Re:So what was better about Nokia's design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184739)

it wasn't apple's.

Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (5, Funny)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 2 years ago | (#40184091)

Hope all phones that use these come with a tweezer and magnifying glass! This little sucker is gonna be hard to handle! lol

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184157)

This little sucker is gonna be hard to handle! lol

That's what she said!

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#40184207)

Luckily, no one in their right mind handles these things more than once a year.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (4, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#40184511)

Luckily, no one in their right mind handles these things more than once a year.

I wish. Let me know when you can get reasonable rates world-wide with a single SIM card.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40185917)

You can get phones that take up to three SIMs simultaneously. If you're travelling between a small number of countries a lot then these are a good option.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 2 years ago | (#40192185)

If you're willing to sacrifice all other features, sure, go ahead. I'll stick to swapping (full-size) SIM cards in my Galaxy Nexus when I cross borders, thanks.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 2 years ago | (#40192931)

OMG, you've got a phone that takes the full credit card sized SIM? Haven't seen one of those for 20 years.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 2 years ago | (#40193323)

Nice, I actually had to look up what you meant :D

Guess I mean "regular-sized" ;)

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (2)

Zouden (232738) | about 2 years ago | (#40192341)

Not many phones, and the top-tier models don't support multiple SIMs. If you have a nice Galaxy Nexus (for example) and you live in Europe, changing sim cards is extremely common. I own at least 3 sim cards.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184925)

You obviously don't travel. I've changed SIM cards a dozen times in a week when switching between the card I use for home, our corporate office, and my parent's house. For example, AT&T charges $19.97 per Mbyte for data(!!!) at my parent's house. Orange changes about as much at my house as compared to where I work. As I did one day accidentally last month, downloading a 10 Mbyte attachmen cost me nearly $200 since I forgot to switch SIM cards .

On to the real problem with SIM cards, they're horrifically unreliable. They're an extra unnecessary point of failure. I manage about 400 phones at work, and more than 90% of the problems I deal with are self-created by the phone companies because they decided to require SIM cards. The cards are simply not reliable, and there is no reason for them to exist other than to screw over customers by not allowing us to use our own property. As an American that now lives in Europe, I'm puzzled why people here allow phone companies to create this problem. In the US, I can use my Verizon iPhone without this phone company-created problem. On my AT&T phone, I see the "NO SIM" error several times per month. The phone doesn't beep to notify me that the phone company decided to disable my service so I miss a lot of calls and texts.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185137)

How does authorizing a new device work with Verizon? And switching between them? As a mobile software developer I need to switch phones frequently, can I use a different one for each day of the week on the same plan? Would I be able to use a device from a different carrier?

I would much rather something that I have physical access to and can trivially swap out than have to call Verizon and ask them to activate my device....

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40186117)

I simply carry three different CDMA phones. While a pain in the neck, it's much more reliable than constantly hassling with unreliable SIM cards like I used to do with my old iPhone. I think I opened it up a dozen times to bend pins on the SIM socket. On the iPhone not only do the mobile companies require the SIM to be working, they also require a separate pin to make contact on the edge of the card. On all of the iPhones I've had, I had to superglue a little bump to the card to get that pin to reliably contact.

Another problem that the mobile companies have decided to create with the SIM card mess is that they don't allow you to call emergency numbers unless you not only have one of their SIMs but also have the SIM active and installed. I've witnessed accidents in two remote areas where I was not allowed by the mobile company to call 911 because of their idiotic policy. I now carry a real phone from Verizon that never block emergency calls because of dumb-ass policies.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

sensationull (889870) | about 2 years ago | (#40192519)

It's not the SIM card format that is to blame rather it is your choice of crappy phones. I have had lots of SIM based phones and have only seen the no SIM error once when the phone became damaged. This is over 7 phones and around 14 years of use. I have swapped SIMs plenty of times and it is way better for choice. You can buy a phone and use it rather than beg your carrier to accept it eventually on their network. It's called fredom of choice, something I understand you may not recognise being from the US and dealing with the carriers there. Try better phones.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#40186063)

I have literally never heard of a malfunctioning SIM card. New (few days old), old (approaching 20 years)... SIM cards are pretty much the most reliable part of a phone.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40186311)

It's not the SIM cards that constantly fail. It's the contacts and mechanical sockets that fail. Often simply ejecting the SIM and cleaning the contacts is enough to fix the problem. In iPhones, there's an additional contact that I haven't seen on Blackberries that often disallow calls because of Apple's policies. If the thin spring contact on the edge of the SIM doesn't make contact even when the actual contacts to the SIM are working, the iPhone doesn't allow you to make calls even to 611 (for the mobile provider) or 112 (emergency). Fortunately you can short-out that contact to make the phone somewhat more reliable. It requires pulling the screen out for an iPhone 3G or 3GS. I've done that procedure on nearly fifty iPhones so far, and I only ruined two of them. That was well worth the trade-out to work-around one of the additional points of failure due to the unnecessary SIM crap.

PS: Go to a mobile store on a busy day and see how many people are there with SIM-card related problems. When my wife worked for AT&T in a mall in the states, she said that she guessed about one in five people in the store were there because their SIM quit. Of course not all of the SIM problems for AT&T were hardware related. She said quite a few people had their SIM cards deactivated by accident by AT&T. AT&T's ridiculous policy is that you are required to replace the SIM with a new card so it requires a trip to a store or waiting on one to be shipped to you.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40229419)

So your problem isn't related so much to the SIM as much as your phone manufacturer's crappy implementation of it. I can't recall any SIM failures in over a decade of handling dozens of phones and SIM cards, and likewise for anyone else I've ever dealt with. It's great to be able to connect a phone to any network I choose without having to deal with the network any time I want to switch.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#40192363)

For me it's once a week. At least. I travel a lot for work and although you can get multi-SIM phones, most of them are terrible as actual phones (unless your idea of a 'good phone' is similar to a feature phone from circa 2003). I think people prefer to use their regular Android phone or iPhone or whatever.

Having said that, currently I'm using an iPhone and those damn microSIMs are already way to small to manipulate easily with my fat fingers. Especially since I usually do my SIM swaps while sitting on the plane en route to my destination :)

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (3, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#40184247)

Exactly - isn't there a point of diminishing returns? Are the current ones really so huge that it's causing a noticeable impact on costs that these even smaller ones will make a difference?

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184627)

More room for battery. Every mAh makes a difference.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185067)

As someone sick and tired of the limited thirty minutes worth of battery life with my iPhone, I agree. Apple really needs to start the process to miniaturize some of the components so they can add a larger battery. I've replaced several batteries and screens in iPhone 3's and 4's so while Apple has made some attempt at making a larger battery, the one in the 4S isn't that much larger. IIRC the 3G has a 1,150 mAh battery and the 4S is a modest increase to a 1,400 mAh battery. For those of us that need to use an iPhone as a cellphone, that isn't nearly enough of an increase in battery life to be acceptable.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#40192385)

Something's very wrong with your iPhone if you are getting only thirty minutes talk time out of it...

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | about 2 years ago | (#40187039)

Ridiculous. The difference in size is 0.05ml. That's about 7mAh extra on top of a 1400-1500mAh average battery.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#40189471)

But the cage and contact pins for the larger SIM also take up room. They redesigned those pieces too. Overall the new design considerably cuts down the space needed. Most importantly it creates more flexibility on internal parts, since the board you mount the contact pins to can be much, much smaller.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#40184701)

it's more about shrinking them from the view that they are a component in the phone. the smaller they are the more space in the phone for other items.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#40184733)

It's not all about costs of manufacturing. It was also about footprint. Right now, smart phone manufacturers are trying to squeeze in as much as possible. Processor requirements keep going up. Power requirements keep going up. Cameras, GPS radio, compasses, gyroscopes are all starting to take space. They need to get as much internal space as possible and there are only a few ways to do that. Internal sealed battery gets some gains. Thinner screens gets some gains. Different battery technologies get some gains. Realistically the whole functionality of SIM can be placed into a much smaller footprint if it didn't need to be handled by persons but there is only so small they can go.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40186919)

Exactly - isn't there a point of diminishing returns?

No. Every format change is an opportunity to make money selling new devices or adaptors due to the newly created incompatibility.

Re:Comes with tweezer and magnifying glass (1)

techdolphin (1263510) | about 2 years ago | (#40191595)

Hope all phones that use these come with a tweezer and magnifying glass! This little sucker is gonna be hard to handle! lol

The SIM cards are already too small and hard to handle. They should be made 20 percent larger.

MicroSIM did the job just fine (1)

dsmey (193342) | about 2 years ago | (#40184595)

Christ. JUST as I was getting used to the new MicroSIM format that the iphone4 used. Wasn't that small enough?

Re:MicroSIM did the job just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184793)

I'll be happy when it's just a firmware rom I can flash to a chip and lets me access it and change it how I see fit based on the carrier I want to connect to.

Re:MicroSIM did the job just fine (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#40184831)

If given the choice between an ever shrinking SIM card versus the alternative of getting on my hands and knees and begging the CDMA provider to allow my handset on their network, I'll take the SIM card.

Say I find a cool phone from overseas. GSM, I can use it here in the US, although I likely will get stuck with EDGE speeds. Overseas, CDMA providers use R/UIM cards (functionally identical to SIM cards). A CDMA provider here in the US would laugh and tell me where to stuff the phone, since they likely wouldn't allow any device near their network they didn't sell.

It also works the other way around. An unlocked iPhone that has dual radios can go for a world tour and generally find GSM access. A CDMA device that doesn't have a GSM secondary radio would be pretty much a neutered PDA outside CONUS.

What's the point? (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#40184713)

That's a product handled by the customer, it should be bigger, not smaller.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40187391)

That's what she said.

Apple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184963)

It'll be used by everyone but apple.

Could they have a virtual SIM card? (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#40185319)

Ie, some kind of cryptographically signed "key" plus a personal passcode that you could enter into a phone that would serve the same identifying purpose as a SIM?

The signing would ensure that the key was actually issued by a carrier and the personal passcode would make sure someone wasn't hijacking your SIM key.

Of course, you'd have to set the system up so that any 'new' device automatically deactivated any other devices.

Is there any reason the SIM card would have to be physical?

Re:Could they have a virtual SIM card? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#40186113)

That way the operator has a somewhat more limited involvement in handset choice.

Re:Could they have a virtual SIM card? (4, Informative)

Nkwe (604125) | about 2 years ago | (#40186119)

Is there any reason the SIM card would have to be physical?

Yes. The SIM is a physical container that protects the computer and data inside it. Note that the SIM is actually a complete computer, not just a hunk of flash memory. When you access the SIM, the security sensitive stuff never actually leaves the SIM card. You don't have any actual access to the security sensitive stuff - the little computer inside the SIM accesses it on your behalf. If it were a software solution (virtual), you would have direct access (via a debugger or similar) to the security sensitive stuff (private keys). Since it is a very physically small hardware solution, you would have to physically disassemble it and hook up microscopic probes to the computer inside, which is very difficult.

Re:Could they have a virtual SIM card? (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about 2 years ago | (#40190971)

Not quite complete computers, but microcontrollers, and there are development kits that will allow you to read them without disassembling the entire card. The hardware and software are rather open standards that are publicly available. Just as your phone can read the contents so can said development kits, if they were unreable and unwrittable they'd be rather useless.

Re:Could they have a virtual SIM card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40196139)

I assume you still can't just ask the SIM for its private key. Surely the standard isn't that stupid.

Why not microsd compatible format? (0)

madbavarian (1316065) | about 2 years ago | (#40186103)

I never understand these "standards" bodies. Why didn't they just go with a microsd card format and as a bonus one could stick a microsd card in there for more storage if one was using wifi and didn't need cell coverage.

Re:Why not microsd compatible format? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#40189483)

That's like asking why we didn't go with 13 amp electrical flex for the "standard" tow rope used by roadside assistance. The two are not similar in function.

Any plans on making the SIMs more reliable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40186927)

I'm sick of hearing complaints from my coworkers about unreliable SIM cards. Granted, 90% of the problems are self-created because they swap SIM cards often for personal use or international travel and/or have the phone in damp areas where the SIM contacts corrode, but either way, they can't use their phones. I almost got fired after the receptionist was unable to call 911 while walking to her car at night while being followed, and AT&T wouldn't allow her to call 911. That isn't the IT guy's fault, but we still get blamed for it. The cards themselves are reliable, but the SIM system is a tragic mess.

Huh? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40187121)

"Prepared to license the patents?"

Why is any patent licensing required to build to a standard? The standard group should say, "If you want it considered, you will give up royalties for any related patents."

Also, how is "smaller but more of the same" even patentable?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40187615)

"Prepared to license the patents?"

Why is any patent licensing required to build to a standard?

They're likely patents that are required to perform basic SIM card functions, regardless of the size or shape the SIM card is in.

The standard group should say, "If you want it considered, you will give up royalties for any related patents."

They might do that, assuming there's even a way to construct a standard without violating the patent. But in any event, the legal term for what you just asked for is "license."

Also, how is "smaller but more of the same" even patentable?

The patents probably apply to the original and micro SIM formats as well. Nokia has been at this for a while.

How much plastic to cut off? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40187851)

With all the arguing you'd think there was more at stake than just how much plastic to cut off the old design.

Re:How much plastic to cut off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40195645)

With all the arguing you'd think people should actually RTFA. But since you won't, here's what it's about: Nokia wanted to have a different contact layout, similar to microSD and others.

The Virtual SIM is the way to go, why waste our (1)

justcauseisjustthat (1150803) | about 2 years ago | (#40190013)

The Virtual SIM is the future, why waste our time on this tiny step. The virtual SIM will have
1) phone company lock in option (I agree , booooo), but it will be required for adoption
1a) just like phones now, companies can remove that lock after a certain period or the phone can be sold unlocked from the beginning
2) the SIM will be loaded by dongle (USB or proprietary) that has adaptable SIM tray (that handles all 4 standards)
2a) it may seem like a waste, but will allow versatility and 8 out of 10 normal user won't use it (most will load it at the store and never change)
2b) this will allow for switching SIMs (international travel, pay as you go, etc)
2c) the dongle will come with the phone and/or be sold by it's own
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...