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MIPS and Gemplus go for Smartcard standard

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In a move that it hopes will lay the foundations for an industry standard, chip architecture bods MIPS Technologies is working with smartcard specialists Gemplus on the creation of a next generation of smartcard chips.

Whatever your views are on technology industry standards and how they're adopted - this is what the deal covers. Firstly the companies will collaborate on development of specifications for the MIPS architecture, designed specifically for the smartcard's requirements, and secondly on the development of a low power embedded 32-bit processor core.

The architecture, called SmartMIPS, is to be tailored for open operating system platforms - this means Sun's Java Card and Microsoft's Smart Card for Windows.

John Hall, the VP of European operations at MIPS, said the companies will be working to produce a card that is multi-function, and much more secure.

"With the developments in mobile technology there will be a need for far better authentication processes that a pin number. We need to look at other methods, such as fingerprint recognition. But this makes great demands on the processing power. We are working with Gemplus to resolve these issues."

According to a report by IDC the European smartcard market is forecast to top one billion by 2004. A total of 284 million units were shipped in Europe in 1999 - up 44 per cent on the previous year. ®

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Mips 32-bit architecture
Gemplus' smartcard developments

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European smartcard sales to top one billion by 2004

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