July 30, 1997 – Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector and SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics leading suppliers of computer chips for smartcards, announced today that they have agreed to ensure the companies’ contactless smartcard microcontroller products are compatible and interoperable. In a move designed to drive the adoption of open standards, the agreement will offer organizations looking to implement contactless smartcard-based systems a choice of products from either supplier, in confidence that they will operate together. The companies’ technical collaboration will cover contactless communications for both smartcards and smartcard terminals.
The ST PC Consumer chip is the first of a family of differentiated, x86-based standard devices tailored to specific applications, such as network computers, web browsers, industrial control systems, and other applications that require Windows™ compatibility implemented on a cost-effective platform.
Motorola SPS and SGS-THOMSON’s contactless products will conform to the emerging ISO/IEC 14443 Contactless Integrated Circuit Cards standard currently being developed by industry task forces. Both companies are providing technical contributions during the standard ‘s development.
“Customers want multiple suppliers when selecting a technology,” said Mike Inglis, General Manager of Motorola’s Smart Information Transfer Division*. “Through this agreement Motorola is giving them a choice of chip products based on open interoperable standards while ensuring they have access to the very best technology available. Our combined contact and contactless smartcard microcontrollers and terminal devices offer improved security and superior features when compared with current systems on the market.”
Mr Maurizio Felici, SGS-THOMSON’s Memory Products Group Vice President and General Manager of the Smartcard Products Division, said, “This agreement on standards is important for the whole smartcard market, allowing highly secure contactless operation for state-of-the-art microcontrollers. It is coherent with SGS-THOMSON’s strategy to deliver ITSEC security-evaluated products and architectures and will offer operators certified contactless platforms form multi-applications. Our new chips are based on existing designs in full production. This will guarantee continued low costs, high security and fast time to market.”
Unlike some competitive solutions, the contactless RF technology being implemented by the two companies is fully integrated into a single-chip microcontroller. Chips from both suppliers will be based on a compatible 8-bit core architecture, which already has an estimated installed base of 80 percent of current contact smartcards. The chips will offer the levels of security required by financial transactions in contactless mode equivalent to those achieved in contact-based cards. This enables the creation of multi-function smartcards that could be used for both financial and transport applications.
Both companies see a major market for this kind of technology. Industry analyst s estimate that contactless will be the fastest growing type of card in the global smartcard market over the next five years, with around 250 million units by the year 2001(*). The companies predict that the ability to replace existing ticketing systems with a multi-application smartcard, which acts as both a transport pass and an electronic purse, will prove to be a compelling combination for public transport operators, retailers and financial institutions.
Editor’s notes The International Standards Organisation/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 14443 Contactless Integrated Circuit Cards standard covers factors such as physical characteristics, radio frequency power and signal interface, initialization and anti-collision, and transaction protocols.
The first parts of the ISO/IEC standard will be completed and ready for approval at the end of 1997. The final draft should be approved by the second half of 1998.
First products from both companies will begin shipping in production during 1998 . The Motorola single-chip contact and contactless microcontroller will offer 4K bytes EEPROM, 20K bytes ROM and 256 bytes RAM. The companion Terminal Interface chip performs high bit rate RF “transmit” and “receive” functions.
The first product from SGS-THOMSON will be a contact and contactless smartcard chip, the ST16RF42, featuring an MCU architecture which has already been used in products that have received ITSEC level E3 SoM High certifications. It offers 2K bytes EEPROM, 16K bytes User ROM and 380 bytes of RAM. This chip will be rapidly followed by a second device offering 8K bytes of EEPROM. The ST16RF42 has already been selected for use by the French transport authorities.
Motorola The Smart Information Transfer Division is a business within Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector.
With 1996 world-wide sales of $7.9 billion, Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector is the largest U.S.-based provider of semiconductor solutions. Motorola is one of the world’s leading providers of wireless communications, semiconductors, and advanced electronic systems, components, and services. Major equipment businesses include cellular telephone, two-way radio, paging and data communications, personal communications, automotive, defense and space electronics, and computers. Motorola semiconductors power communication devices, computers and millions of other products. Motorola’s 1996 sales were $28 billion.
Further information on Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector can be found at the SPS website http://www.motorola.com/sps
SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics is a global independent semiconductor company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:STM) and on the Bourse de Paris. It designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductor integrated circuits (ICs ) and discrete devices used in a wide variety of microelectronic applications, including telecommunications systems, computer systems, consumer products and industrial automation and control systems. Further information on SGS-THOMSON can be found at http:// www.st.com.
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