Motorola debuts Smart Card platforms

Motorola debuted a line of smart-card products that integrate cards, operating systems, readers and application developer's kits, at Cartes 98 today in Paris.

The smart-card line, divided into three distinct platforms, are intended to allow companies and agencies to quickly create smart-card applications in the financial, telecommunications, transportation, education, government and health-care fields. The platform suite was announced by Motorola's Worldwide Smartcard Solutions Division.

"Our approach has been that there isn't going to be a one-solution-fits-all type of platform," said Mario DiPrizio, Motorola director of engineering during a phone interview today from Paris, where he is attending the show. "The market is one that is still in its infancy and trying to adopt the technology."

As such, customers need smart-card platforms that are flexible and scaleable, built on open architecture and established industry standards, he said.

The Motorola product line, called M-Smart, includes:

-- The M-Smart Mercury Platform, based on ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) chips, and designed for users that need a basic platform to quickly build a secure smart-card application for access control and campus use, government identification, transportation and basic retail use.

-- The M-Smart Venus Platform, with advanced memory and processing abilities so that smart cards can be created that support multiple applications, such as those needed for mobile communications and banking.

-- The M-Smart Jupiter Platform, built on a 32-bit RISC processor platform for to support applications that need more memory and security. For example, smart cards originally used for basic banking can be upgraded to include transportation and loyalty applications.

Products in the Mercury and Venus lines are available now with the Jupiter platform due out after the first of the year after expected industry standards are established. Pricing varies, depending on customer order.

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