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Smart card IC provides flexibility

Posted: 10 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:em microelectronic? swatch group? emtcg176-3g? smart card ic?

EM Microelectronic, an electronic systems company of the Swatch Group, has developed a flash memory-based smart card IC designed for SIM and Java cards in GSM mobile phones, as well as for healthcare and loyalty card applications.

Offering designers memory flexibility, the new EMTCG176-3G smart card IC contains 176KB of pure flash memory. The 176KB non-volatile memory is organized in two sectors of different granularities: 48KB in pages of 8 Bytes (1 Byte programmable), and 128KB in pages of 512 Bytes. This means that there is no difference anymore between code space and data space, explained EM Micro. Because some data do not always need to be byte-addressable, the user can decide what amount of code is allocated to the OS and use the remaining space for data.

"With flexible memory partitioning between code and data, the software and the personalization can be done at the very last stage of the production phase, at the smart card manufacturer facility," said Mougahed Darwish, president of the management board of EM Micro. "This helps the smart card manufacturers and the service providers to reduce their intermediate stocks and to speed up their time to market, saving cost and increasing competitiveness."

"It means," Darwish added, "that one card design can be used for a wide variety of applications, and inventories of cards can be quickly personalized at low cost to meet market demands."

Most smart card ICs rely on a combination of ROM and EEPROM. In these smart cards, the OS and main applications are permanently stored once in the ROM where they cannot be modified. Since the ROM portion can only be programmed once, it is typically filled with as many applications as possible, leaving less memory space available for variable user data, program updates and new features. Unlike these smart cards, the EMTCG176-3G has a memory architecture that is 100 percent re-programmable. This provides more flexibility for the manufacturer, dealer or end user to reconfigure the OS and applications, stressed EM Micro.

The EMTCG176-3G features an enhanced 8051 microcontroller (MCU) core compatible with industry standards and implemented in hardware. An internal tamper-proof clock operates at up to 30MHz and provides better security than designs that require an external clock. Security is also enhanced by the chip's built-in analog, triple hardware DES encryption algorithms, hardware-protected memory partitioning and tamper notification.

The 8051 MCU core is a proven, robust and widely supported architecture, allowing code re-usability and faster development. The EMTCG176-3G is supported by various development tools, including a Compiler, Link Editor, OTP and EEPROM Download, and Emulation platform that is fully integrated with the Keil uVision2 development environment.

The EMTCG176-3G is compatible with the ISO7816-3 IC card (smart card) specification, and operates with high speed communication baud rates, making it compatible with 3rd generation cellular phones. It is available as back-lapped and de-stressed 8-inch wafers down to 180?m thickness, as sawn wafers on frame, and in packaged module form.

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