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Flash memory from EM Micro makes smart-card ICs smarter

Posted: 15 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:em microelectronic? theseus? smart card ic? emtg30? emtg56?

EM Microelectronic has added two new members to its Theseus family of devices designed for smart card applications.

The EMTG30 and EMTG56 are flash memory-based smart-card ICs tailored for subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in low-end mobile phones.

The high-density characteristics of each device eliminate the need for memory bank switching either for data and code space. The EMTG30 offers up to 30KB of general purpose non-volatile memory (GPNVM), and the EMTG56 offers 56KB. Both devices organize GPNVM in 128-bytes per page.

The devices employ SuperFlash memory technology from Silicon Storage Technology Inc.

The devices are compatible with the ISO7816-3 Integrated Circuit Card (smart card) specification. They feature an 8-bit, 8051 microcontroller core, which is implemented in hardware. As a result, the devices can process instructions four times faster per clock cycle than typical microcode-based 8051 core designs, according to the company.

"The EMTG30/56 are low-cost, yet highly flexible smart card circuits with a 100 percent flash memory architecture for the entry-level mobile telephony market," said Mougahed Darwish, president of the management board of EM Microelectronic, in a statement. "The flexibility of using flash memory opens up a new field of applications where smart cards can be truly 'smart,' allowing them to be fully reprogrammable in the field, adapting to changing applications, operating systems and user requirements."

And for the manufacturer, one card design can be used for many different applications, and card inventory can be easily personalized to meet market demands, he added.

Since the EMTG30 and EMTG56 are flash-based, memory dedicated to application software and user data can be configured in the final stages. This enables smart card providers to reduce inventory, simplify logistics, reduce costs and accelerate time to market, the company said.

In quantities of 10,000, the EMTG30 and EMTG56 are priced at $4 and $5, respectively.

- Ismini Scouras


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