2/3/2005 - Infineon Technologies AG (FSE/NYSE: IFX) and Renesas Technology Corp., the world's number one and number two suppliers of microcontrollers for smart cards*, announced that they will offer a common software interface for their 32-bit families of smart card microcontrollers. Such a standardised software interface will help to accelerate the development of new smart card applications, as it enables card manufacturers to re-use their application-specific software across various smart card IC platforms, which are widely used in mobile communications applications.
New requirements in major smart card market segments such as mobile communications, identification and access control applications demand the performance and address space of 32-bit microcontrollers. Market experts expect that the additional benefit of software compatibility will further accelerate the introduction of 32-bit solutions, as the smart card industry demands chip card controllers offering high performance and EEPROM memory of at least 64K bytes.
Compared to today where smart card manufacturers face significant investment to port their software to different hardware platforms, such a common application programmable interface (API) can significantly reduce cost and time-to-market when developing new smart card applications, by standardising the connection between the chip hardware and the operating system. The API comprises a set of device drivers that provide a convenient interface to all hardware-specific peripherals of the smart card microcontroller including those for crypto co-processors, timers, serial UART interfaces, random number generators and memory management units.
The common API will be compatible with the companies' respective 32-bit smart card microcontroller families, Infineon's 88 family and Renesas' AE5 family. As a first step, the API will offer a common interface for Renesas' Advance Crypto Library (ACL) and Infineon's Platform Support Layer (PSL). The API is expected to be available by the second quarter 2005.
Both Infineon and Renesas will continue to optimise the functionality of the API to offer maximum benefit for their respective IC platforms whilst maintaining compatibility with the existing PSL interface.
* Source: Data Quest Gartner Market Share: Chip Card and Semiconductor Vendors, Worldwide, 2003 (total smart card microcontroller market 1210Mpcs, Infineon share 32%, Renesas share 17%)
Further information on Infineon's product portfolio of chip card ICs is available at www.infineon.com/security
Further information on Renesas' product portfolio of chip card ICs is available at www.renesas.com
About Renesas Technology Corp.
Renesas Technology Corp. designs and manufactures highly integrated semiconductor system solutions for mobile, automotive and PC and Audio Visual markets. Established on April 1, 2003 as a joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501, NYSE:HIT) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TSE:6503) and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Renesas Technology is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world and the number one microcontroller supplier globally. Besides microcontrollers, Renesas Technology offers system-on-chip devices, Smart Card ICs, mixed-signal products, flash memories, SRAMs and more. Further information is available at www.renesas.com
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2004 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.19 billion with about 35,600 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.
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