Feeds

RIM-Moto sketch THIRD nanoSIM design as peace offering

Duo dump Nokia to end SIM war with Apple - report

Boost IT visibility and business value

RIM and Motorola reportedly hope to break the deadlock over the design of future SIM cards by offering a blueprint that'll either appease every party or alienate all sides equally.

At issue is the shape and size of the standard next-generation SIM: Apple and a band of network operators want a tray-requiring shape and contacts that would permit a convertor for backwards compatibility with chunkier old SIMs. Nokia, Motorola and RIM have pushed for a new contact pattern and a notched SIM for clunk-click, and tray-less, insertion.

The new proposal, apparently put forward by RIM and Motorola, is a compromise but it hasn't secured backing from either of the most-belligerent parties - yet. Copies of the design, as well as Moto's presentation in March that compared the competing interfaces, have been seen by the chaps at The Verge.

What all parties agree on is that a smaller SIM is needed: the first SIMs were the same size as credit cards (conforming to ISO7816), while the second form factor (2FF) is the SIM with which most of us are familiar (conforming to GSM 11.11). Next was the microSIM (3FF), popularised by Apple's adoption in the iPhone; the 3FF just trims off the excess plastic while maintaining the contact pattern.

The undecided 4FF standard (dubbed the nanoSIM) will be thinner as well as smaller, and almost certainly feature a different contact pattern to make that practical, although how different is part of the ongoing debate.

Some might feel the microSIM is quite small enough, but as iFixit's breakdown of the iPhone 4 shows, the SIM is now taking up the same space as the main processor. Get rid of the SIM and you can fit another chip in there:

iPhone 4 logic board

The silver block to the left of the A4 chip is where the microSIM goes

The Apple-backed 4FF proposal was for a contact-compatible SIM with smooth sides necessitating an insertion tray, while Nokia wanted the contacts shifted to the far end and a notch along the side for easy push-to-lock fitting. The new RIM-Moto proposal, if genuine, places the contacts in compatible locations while maintaining the Nokia notch, appeasing both parties or perhaps annoying them both equally.

There have been claims that Nokia is just trying to protect its patent income, fanned by Apple's offer to waive its own IP fees if its proposal were adopted. That's something of a red herring as Apple's hasn't much IP in this area and Nokia's patents cover much more than the physical shape of the SIM so its revenue is pretty much assured.

Not that Nokia has helped itself by threatening to deny patent licences if its own proposal isn't adopted, claiming that Apple's divergence from rules laid down by telecoms standards body ETSI relives Nokia of its FRAND commitment to licence its technology on a fair and reasonable basis.

The next ETSI meeting isn't until the end of the month, in Osaka, Japan, but rather than having to choose between the two competing camps it seems there will be three options on the table. It remains to be seen if that makes things easier or just divides opinion further. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.