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Sun launches contactless Java card technology

16 November 2005  |  2660 views  |  0 Source: Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:SUNW), the creator and leading advocate of Java technology, today announced the Java Card platform is now running on contactless smart cards.

Sun announced the worldwide availability and deployment of contactless smart cards running on Java Card technology with demonstrations of the Java Card contactless products at Sun's booth at the Cartes IT & Security 2005 tradeshow in Paris.

The Java Card platform is the leading technology for multi-application smart cards with over 1.25 billion cards shipped. With the advent of contactless on Java Card products, Sun helps enable new waves of smart card deployments to benefit from its secure, market-proven, multi-application Java Card technology. Rather than requiring users to insert a card into a reader, contactless cards can be quickly and easily read up to four inches (10 cm) away, enabling applications in rigorous environments such as public transportation or gaining access to government facilities. Government identification and ePassport projects are currently being rolled out worldwide with contactless Java technology. According to Frost & Sullivan, contactless smart card shipments reached 121.7 million units in 2004, and are expected to reach 847.3 million in 2009.

"Contactless support creates significant new market opportunities for Java Card technology," said Tom Goguen, Vice President, Software Marketing at Sun Microsystems. "This opens new doors for enterprises and government bodies that demand smart card security, the convenience of contactless operation, and the flexibility to easily create or migrate innovative applications.
When the next version of Java Card specifications are released with contactless support, we expect it to further increase Java card technology's market leadership."

Java Card technology helps to provide a secure environment for applications that run on smart cards and other devices with very limited memory and processing capabilities. Multiple applications can be deployed on a single card, and new applications can be added even after it has been issued to end users. Applications written in the Java programming language, can be executed securely on cards from different vendors. With over 1.25 billion cards deployed worldwide, Java Card technology is the leading open, multi- application platform for smart cards. Card issuers benefit from a number of unique features of Java Card technology in contactless products, including interoperable cards, a certified multi-application platform, and an open environment for writing new applications using widely available development tools on a diverse range of operating systems, including the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS), Windows and Linux. Java Card applications can be seamlessly executed on contact, contactless or dual-interface cards.


Seperately, GlobalPlatform, the global leader in smart card infrastructure development and deployment, and Sun Microsystems, the creator and leading advocate of Java technology, today announced the establishment of complementary technical specifications designed to fuel the next generation of Java Card development.

The complementary industry standard specifications have a common focus on contactless applications – a significant area of market growth for smart cards.

GlobalPlatform and Sun Microsystems have an alliance to ensure their respective specifications are compatible.

Bob Beer, GlobalPlatform Chairman, comments: "The GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.2 supports dual-interface contact/contactless smart cards and supports the functionality delivered by Java Card 2.2.2. It facilitates the development of secure and interoperable smart card services, providing better performance and allowing even more products and services to be available from multiple vendors, on one card. For the card issuer, it will open up collaborations with other industry sectors, such as transportation. While for the consumer, they will enjoy the convenience of hands-free applications, additional security and the ability to utilize multiple services using one device."

"Since 2002, Sun and GlobalPlatform have been working closely together to align their respective smart card technical specifications," said Alan Brenner, Vice President, Sun Client Systems Group. "With the steady growth we're seeing in the contactless markets, it is critical that these specifications are enhanced to keep pace with the steady cadence of innovation that customers expect."

The next generation GlobalPlatform Card Specification explicitly defines how contactless cards, chip and card reader, communicate through wireless self-powered induction technology, and the relevant architecture required to support them in a multi-application environment. The Specification supports dual interface contact/contactless cards explaining how to load and manage applications in both environments.

Smart card issuers within the payment, government/identity, and transit sectors will be particularly interested by the clarity that has been established by GlobalPlatform to create a standardized dual-interface for contactless implementations based on the new Java technology. Ease of use, ability to replace cash, operational efficiency, improved security and customer service are some of the many benefits attributed to the increasing popularity of the contactless systems, examples of which have already been successfully deployed in Asia, Europe and North America.

The next generation GlobalPlatform Card Specification has been developed to meet the growing demands of the smart card market. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) functionality has been added to the Card Specification in direct response to the increased standardization of identity authentication on multi-purpose cards. Another key adjustment, as requested by the mobile telecoms industry, is further advancements in secure communication for over-the-air (OTA) update.

The full specification will be available to the market in early 2006.

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