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Japan's DOCOMO suggests wearable SIM cards

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Japanese mobile carrier DoCoMo has come up with an interesting idea: a wearable SIM card that authenticates all your devices on its network under a single account.

The company says the portable SIM is currently a “pocketsize mini device” but that “further downsizing” will deliver “convenient wearable devices”. Those devices will include a SIM slot, Bluetooth and NFC.

Here's how the company sees the device working:

“By simply waving Portable SIM next to a mobile device, the user's subscriber identity can be transmitted to the mobile device via Bluetooth, eliminating the need to physically insert a SIM card. Using this feature, for example, the smartphone user can switch their subscriber identity from a personal device to a shared tablet in the workplace. For security, the switched phone number in the smartphone is locked once the Bluetooth link is broken.

Portable SIM can securely store multiple credentials, such as IDs and passwords, so it also can be used with PCs and other connected devices to eliminate the need to type in such information when accessing online-shopping and other sites.”

DoCoMo might just be on to something here. Mobile data plans spanning more than one device are starting to become common in some parts of the world. NFC as a means of authenticating and initiating Bluetooth connections is also starting to become reasonably common in wireless speakers.

To your correspondent, DoCoMo's idea makes reasonable sense: having multiple data plans is not convenient, or cost-effective, while any technology that improves security will be welcome.

DOCOMO says it “will continue to study key technologies, functions and service applications before commercialization of the device” and will “also study ways to link Portable SIM and other smart devices, such as TVs, music players and in-car informatics systems, to bring convenient services and products to customers.” ®

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