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Apple Wins Battle Over Nano-SIM Standard


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Apple has won a battle over the standard for a smaller SIM card, use of which would leave more room for other components in future phone designs.

The Smart Card Platform Technical Committee of the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) agreed a standard for so-called nano-SIMs on Friday. Apple's specification beat a competing proposal from Nokia, Research In Motion and Google-owned Motorola Mobility.

The SIM standard -- which is officially known as the fourth form factor (4FF) -- will be 40 percent smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3 millimeters by 8.8 mm by 0.67 mm, according to ETSI. 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, ETSI said.

ETSI isn't releasing any further details of the vote or the winning specification, only saying that the decision had been made, according to a spokesman at the standards organization. The proposer of the winning specification was identified by card maker Giesecke & Devrient, which had a representative on the committee.

Ahead of Friday's meeting in Osaka, ETSI members had failed to agree on the standard at another meeting at the end of March. The failure to reach a conclusion then wasn't a surprise, as the lead-up to the vote had been contentious.

Both RIM and Nokia have tried their best to cast doubt on Apple's efforts. Nokia, for its part, accused Apple of misusing the standardization process and said that it wouldn't license essential patents related to Apple's proposal if that proposal won.

What the company intends to do now remains to be seen. Nokia didn't immediately respond to questions about the vote.

When nano-SIM cards enter production, their smaller size will free up room inside phones for additional memory and larger batteries, helping phone vendors create thinner devices, according to Giesecke & Devrient.

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visualbuffs

Apple's nano-SIM card design approved by ETSI

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has approved the nano-SIM card design that was proposed by Apple, reports Ars Technica. The new nano-SIM card is 40 percent smaller than the current micro-SIM card standard in many modern cell phones.

Size is obviously a major issue for cell phones and other devices that use SIM cards, and smaller components mean technology manufacturers can save the extra space for other hardware that can provide better features or battery life.

"Today's SIM card designs take up a significant amount of space inside a mobile device," ETSI said in a statement. "This space is more and more valuable in today's handsets which deliver an ever-increasing number of features."

The newly approved SIM card design is the fourth form factor (4FF), and measures 12.33mm wide by 8.8mm tall by 0.67mm thick (0.48" x 0.35" x 0.03"). Nano-SIM cards will be backwards-compatible with slots designed for micro-SIM cards, which will help manufacturers make the transition more smoothly as the new nano-SIM spec is implemented in future hardware.

A rival design specification was submitted by RIM and Motorola. Their design and Apple's eventually converged after modifications on both sides, and very few differences remained at the end. The major differentiating feature at the end was a notch on RIM and Motorola's design, that would allow handsets to use the "push-push" design - where cards can be inserted by pushing the SIM into the slot and removed by pushing again - instead of a sliding tray for the cards.

While ETSI did not specifically say that Apple was the winner, a member of the committee, Giesecke & Devrient did, according to Macworld.

Source: Ars Technica

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