BERKELEY, California — 23rd February 2004 — Continuing its commitment to providing embedded device users with the latest Microsoft .NET technologies, Hive Minded, Inc. today announced the availability of version 1.1 of its Nectar Smartcard Platform, for the first time bringing ECMA certification to the smart card development platform.

The Nectar Smartcard Platform allows developers to easily build next generation applications on the smart card platform. With support for Microsoft .NET technology on the Nectar platform, developers can write an application for a smart card using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003, remain fully compatible with the Microsoft Windows environment, and can take full advantage of integrating smart card solutions with Web services.

With Nectar 1.1, developers can write applications that comply with the ECMA and ISO standards, remain fully backwards compatible with version 1.0 applications, and can utilize integrated debugging support in emulation and on production smart cards.

“Nectar 1.1 is a major leap forward for smart card platform technology, and, with its integrated .NET features, will give developers using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 the features they need to build the next generation smart card applications,” said Charles Fitzgerald, General Manager of Platform Strategy at Microsoft, “We are pleased to see support for the ECMA specification with this release.”

With the release of Nectar v1.1, Hive Minded now supports the following full set of new capabilities:

  • ECMA/ISO compliance: The platform now complies with the relevant ECMA and ISO standards. Version 1.0 omitted several features required for full standards compliance.
  • Full backwards compatibility: The version 1.1 platform is fully backwards compatible with applications written and compiled for the version 1.0 platform.
  • Integrated debugging support: The Nectar platform now includes a debugging interface allowing both emulated and production cards to be integrated into Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. This enables far simpler design, development, debugging and deployment.
  • 64-bit type support: Full support for 64-bit integer types is now present. We include library support for both signed and unsigned longs, as well as supporting all standard VM operations (e.g. add, sub, mul, etc.).
  • Stream support: Standard .NET streams are now supported. These are used for the communications infrastructure as well as enabling crypto support and resource embedding.
  • Full garbage collection: Version 1.0 provided a garbage collection mechanism which collected garbage after the completion of every request/reply interaction with the terminal. Version 1.1 now provides a complete, precise ‘anytime’ garbage collection scheme enabling garbage collection to run at any point during execution. By default, the system will run the garbage collector when it needs space, but this mechanism is also exposed to enable applications to initiate a garbage collection operation when necessary.
  • Inter-application communication: A remoting mechanism is now included to enable inter-application communication. This provides identical semantics and abilities to that of the standard card/terminal remoting scheme included in version 1.0 as well as the remoting enhancements of version 1.1
  • Embedded resources: Application support is now included for embedding and retrieving resources from Nectar assemblies.
  • Enhanced remoting: The terminal/card remoting interface as been enhanced to include support for the new 64-bit types. In addition, it now supports MarshalByRef objects enabling better integration into the terminal environment. In addition, remoting is now available as a standard card library, enabling it to be deployed via various low-level protocols.
  • Verification support: The binary file format is enhanced to include additional type information to enable on card code verification. This mechanism is used to secure the remoting boundary and so provide perimeter protection on the card.
  • Protocol abstractions: Version 1.1 now exposes the protocol stack to the C# domain. This provides application developers with full access to the underlying smart card ADPU protocol (rather than just the remoting API of version 1.0) – a feature necessary for the development of cards backwardly compatible with older card systems. It also enables the easy integration of new protocol stacks (e.g. USB).
  • Standardized ISO7816 remoting encapsulation: Version 1.1 now defines a smart card standard format for encapsulating remoting over the APDU transport mechanism.
  • 11,000+ tests: The Nectar platform includes an additional 4000+ tests covering all new features and components.

About Hive Minded

Hive Minded, Inc. was founded in 2002 with a specific goal in mind: to bring Microsoft .NET technology to a broad range of highly embedded devices. Based in the university town of
Berkeley, California, Hive Minded continues the tradition of technological innovation and creativity for which the Bay Area is famous.

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