9/6/2002 - A new device from Texas Instruments (TI) reads multiple types of Flash media without costly adapters as well as providing smart card functionality for security and e-commerce applications. Designed for use in laptop computers and small PCs, the PCI1620 CardBus controller chip — fully compliant with PCMCIA proposal 262 — lowers end customers´ overall ownership cost by up to 70 percent and solves the dilemma of multiple cards for Flash media and enables secure transactions in a host of existing and up-and-coming e-commerce applications. The complete functionality of the PCI1620 will be demonstrated next week at the Intel Developers Forum in San Jose, CA (Booth #325).
High Level of Integration Supports Multiple Flash Media Cards
More than 500 million Flash media cards including Smart Media (SM), Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick (MS) and MultiMediaCards — which are all supported by the PCI1620 — will be shipped by 2005, according to recent research reports. Some existing laptops have dedicated sockets, but they only support one type of Flash Media.
"TI´s UltraMediaTM technology integrates and simplifies the use of multiple Flash memory cards and smart cards in mobile PCs with a simple, low-cost passive adapter," said Andy Prophet, executive director of the MultiMediaCard Association (www.mmca.org). "Using this technology, the highly integrated PCI1620 serves as host controller for all these cards using a single, low-cost passive adapter that enables end users to switch among media types without the hassle or cost of active adapters or external readers."
The PCI1620 is the first product available that is fully compliant to PCMCIA's proposal 262, whose purpose is to allow connectivity of media cards and smart cards through the standard PC card form factor.
Security for Network and E-Commerce Transactions
Incorporating Gemplus´ GemCoreTM smart card interface technology, the PCI1620 integrates a smart card reader that enables secure log-on to PCs and networks and encryption of sensitive data. Compliant with EMV2000, a set of global specifications for cards, terminals, and applications, it also provides security for online banking transactions, such as debit/credit services and online payments.
"With the help of Gemplus' leading edge technology and support, our UltraMedia products will enable PC users to do business and perform transactions over the Internet with increased security, convenience and confidence," said Julie Holland, director of TI's Connectivity Solutions group. "By working with Gemplus, we are able to offer our customers tremendous savings, ease-of-use and instant access to the inherent benefits of smart card technology, which we believe is poised for tremendous growth in the near future due to the need for more security and privacy."
The PCI1620's smart card capability simplifies network security and e-commerce — providing additional convenience to end users — by keeping track of a variety of data types, including user IDs, passwords, name and address information, credit card numbers, and favorite Web site lists. Stored securely in the smart card, this information can automatically populate Web forms, such as login or checkout forms at an e-commerce site. Additionally, the smart card can store user profiles, allowing multiple users to share a PC; as each user's personalized settings are applied with insertion of their smart card.
Smart cards will also serve up-and-coming Internet applications, such as tracking purchases made on shoppers´ cards, consumer JavaTM technology-based cards that allow access to private Web sites, and tracking video game records and points.
Low-Cost, Passive Adapter Accommodates UltraMedia
Laptop and small PC OEMs can either provide dedicated sockets for different types of media cards (including a 4-in-1 socket), or a single low-cost, passive adapter can accommodate four types (MS, SM, SD and MultiMediaCards). In the latter case, the end user simply inserts the media card into a PC card adapter, and inserts the adapter into a laptop PC card slot. The PCI1620 supports two CardBus slots, and allows for two different kinds of media to be accessed at the same time. A separate adapter for smart cards is also available from numerous suppliers.
Availability, Packaging, and Pricing
The PCI1620 CardBus controller is sampling now, with volume production scheduled for October 2002. It is available in 209 GHK MicroStar BGA and 208-PDV packages. Planned pricing is $8.00 each in quantities of 10,000.
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