November 15, 2007 – Infineon Technologies and Intel have forged a technology partnership to develop optimized chips for high-density SIM cards. Under the deal, Infineon will develop a 32-bit security microcontroller based on its existing SLE 88 family for use with HD SIM cards, currently made with 0.13-micron processes, which will be “optimally calibrated” with Intel’s 65nm and 45nm process-based NOR flash memory (ranging from 4-8MB). Initial development will scale up to 64MB with a voltage range of 1.8-3.3V; first samples are planned to ship in 2H08, followed by high-volume production in 1H09.
HD SIM cards, seen representing 6%-8% of the total 3.8B SIM card shipments in 2010 (according to Frost & Sullivan data cited by the two companies), are used today to offer network security and basic user functionality such as phonebook data in a mobile device. Next year with the addition of a USB interface, SIM cards will be able to handle more demanding and data-intensive mobile applications and services, which will require more memory. Enter NOR flash, which offers a low price point and small cell size, and are customizable to densities below 128MB and require no error correction code, they note in a statement.
“It is Intel’s and Infineon’s common vision that high-density SIM cards will grow significantly as [mobile network operators] launch new application-driven services using a rich multimedia user interface and carrier branding, that are handset agnostic,” said Glen Hawk, GM of Intel’s flash products group, in a statement.