MUNICH, Germany Infineon AG and Micron Technology have announced a strategic cooperation to develop a new SIM card generation with very high storage capacity. The High-Density SIM (HD-SIM) cards will enable mobile operators to offer sophisticated applications which could involve multimedia content.
The HD-SIM will connect security functions with large (at least 128 MByte) NAND storage. Current SIM card generations sport relatively low capacities, not suited to store audio or video data. While typical mobile handsets today are equipped with large storage capacities, these data stores are beyond control of mobile operators. Thus, combining high-density storage with security functionality would be an enabler for operators to offer graphically-rich value-added services such as mobile banking, ticketing and multimedia.
Another important property the HD-SIM would offer is that it would enable network operators to control applications on the end users' handset – including download, update or delete these applications. In addition, services and settings can be pushed and altered on the HD-SIM card.
These relatively large data volumes and applications do also require higher processing capabilities of the integrated microcontroller. For this reason, the HD-SIM cards will be equipped with more powerful microcontrollers, compared to today's installed base.
Within the collaboration, Infineon and Micron will leverage their respective expertise to combine an Infineon security microcontroller with a specific flash memory implementation for HD-SIM applications from Micron. This NAND memory will be equipped with Errror Correction Code (ECC) technology. The product concept will also feature a cost effective packaging solution that allows for easy migration between NOR- and NAND-based memory technologies. First prototypes will be available in fall 2009, an Infineon spokesperson said.
While this cooperation hitherto is the only point of contact between Infineon and Micron with regard to R&D activities, both companies increasingly appear on an approaching course lately. In mid-October Micron announced to buy Infineon subsidiary Qimonda's stake in the chip manufacturing joint venture Inotera. And increasingly, rumors are rampant that Micron might be interested in taking over Qimonda.
The Infineon spokesperson declined to comment on this topic.