Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Data Storage Media Patents The Almighty Buck Wireless Networking Hardware Apple

Nano-SIM Decision Delayed 117

Posted by timothy
from the sir-the-nano-decision-is-huge dept.
judgecorp writes "The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple's approach."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nano-SIM Decision Delayed

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Its small enough as it is
    Havent used a micro SIM, but they look like they are just asking to get lost
    Some of us often carry SIM's in wallets,etc to change them as per need.
    Now, to deal with nano SIM's, a carrier will probably be needed
    Whats the point?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScislaC (827506)

      My guess is the amount of space they take up in the phone is the problem. Basically, between the SIM itself and the hardware for reading it, that's a good amount of real estate.

      • by icebike (68054) * on Saturday March 31, 2012 @05:13PM (#39536593)

        My guess is the amount of space they take up in the phone is the problem. Basically, between the SIM itself and the hardware for reading it, that's a good amount of real estate.

        Exactly.

        But the problem is the insane rush to thinness. Devices are already too thin, and making them thinner just makes them harder to use, hold, and keep rigid enough to prevent glass breakage.

        The problem is that current battery technology wants to be in regular shapes, and in order to allow for a sim socket you have to surrender the entire width of the phone even though the sim only takes a portion of that width. I suspect Apple would like to insert the sim in a slot that sits perpendicular to the slab. These nano-sims are also thinner.

        Molded batteries would allow the use of irregular areas inside of a device, and such batteries could better use empty space.

        Linear sims (toothpick) are another possible design. The phone need only read them upon insertion via a collar around the insertion hole. Nobody bothers to write to the sim any more.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Then it sounds like the problem is NOT with the cards which I agree have almost gotten to contact lens "Oh shit, nobody move!" levels of teeny tiny but in the reader which obviously should be redesigned. Maybe it should just be an electrical connector and then have the actually processing done on the CPU? it isn't like those aren't insanely powerful now on your average phone. or maybe a specialized ARM chip off to the side somewhere, just not built into the actual reader part.

          The problem i have with chang

          • 1 Apple has said they won't charge for patents on their design (possibly including 'providing other companies also don't charge for their patents')

            2 You can thank the carriers for this, as it would be more desirable for there to be NO physical SIM card, which is what Apple would prefer, but the carriers won't have it [even with the same capabilities as the physical SIM chip, like locking to a carrier]

          • What? No, the problem is with the cards. The "reader" already is just an electrical connector: a surface mount socket with spring-loaded pins. The reason they can't make the connector smaller is because the contact layout on the card is huge.

        • by SeaFox (739806)

          The phone need only read them upon insertion via a collar around the insertion hole. Nobody bothers to write to the sim any more.

          Speak for yourself.

          I intentionally disabled the internal memory on my phone so the phonebook would always save entries to the SIM card memory. That way, should my phone have an accident of some sort rendering it inoperable, or I decide to just get a new phone, I don't lose my contacts because I can't transfer them off the old phone and onto the new one. Assuming the SIM is unharmed I just remove it from the wreckage of my old phone and put it into the new one. Power up and I'm back in business, phone active

          • by peragrin (659227)

            while that is a useful feature, with smart phones it is a non issue, as your contacts and everything else is getting backed up to a computer you own.

            What i am waiting for is not only a dual sim phone, but a dual OS phone. So that each sim is in it's own self contained area. That way I can carry just one cell phone, with a sim and OS for work and have a Sim and OS for home. Separating out apps, contacts, everything. Also if the phone is lost or you quit, etc work can wipe their phone OS and you still hav

          • by icebike (68054) *

            I intentionally disabled the internal memory on my phone so the phonebook would always save entries to the SIM card memory. That way, should my phone have an accident of some sort rendering it inoperable, or I decide to just get a new phone, I don't lose my contacts because I can't transfer them off the old phone and onto the new one.

            But this discussion is about Smartphones, not legacy feature phones.

            Iphones and Android phones, and even Winphones back up the contact list to the cloud, and any ability to back up to the sim is pretty much gone by now. I don't believe its even possible in Android, (although you can import from the sim). Its just not necessary, your contacts are syned with your computer, or your Apple account, or your Google account, or your Carrier's account, or your phone manufacturer account. There are at least a doze

          • by Jerom (96338)

            I save contacts on both the phone and the SIM (and a backup on the PC) - I had both fail on me...

      • Basically, between the SIM itself and the hardware for reading it, that's a good amount of real estate.

        Well, except that the actual phone is much more bigger than this real estate. And nearly half of this volume is take by the battery anyway. So upgrading a smart phone from Mini SIM to Nano SIM has almost no visible difference from the outside.

        I could see some use in :
        - Trying to get even thinier smart phone. (But, huh, well, what's the point of making them thiner beyond what they are already? I mean even today avarage smartphone doesn't relly need to by so thin). I understand the design aesthetic, but what

        • Replying to myself, but:

          Well, now that I think about it, abnormally thin phone have an interesting use case:
          Users like myself who don't give a shit if the phone is paper-thin or only coaster-thin.

          We can get the the phone, remove the original battery, and put some bigger battery with a bigger after-market battery cover.
          The resulting phone isn't "mailable-thin" anymore. But at least now it can enjoy a sligthly more useful battery life.

    • They need to resolve the inherent tradeoff between the ease of losing it and the difficulty of finding it again if you do.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      The goal is to end up with multi-SIM phones so you aren't keeping them in your wallet, you keep them installed in the phone and pick the SIM for the function without having to change them.
    • by Teun (17872)
      I saw the T-Mobile SIM of a colleague and it was a regular size one with the option to break out the center piece so it would become a micro SIM.

      That mini SIM still had some plastic around the contacts so yes it would be possible to cut it down further without a change in design or technology.

      The best know apparatuses that expect a micro SIM are from Apple and yes it does save space.

    • by Gerzel (240421)

      The point is to make you buy a second phone rather than trade out sims.

      Ideally companies like Apple will make a brighter future where the physical hardware of a phone is connected to a contract seamlessly and the only way to change things is to by a whole new unit.

  • Fingers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes (835608) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:24PM (#39536273) Journal

    I'm struggling to handle these things with my fat fingers already. And devices are getting so small that you have to wonder whether, if we want any foorm of interaction, we are on the edge of small enough. Now capacity and power, pile it on.

    • Re:Fingers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by buybuydandavis (644487) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:36PM (#39536353)

      Maybe that's the point - they don't want *you* to be able to change it yourself. That seems like Apple's style.

      I agree. Micro sim cards are bad enough already. If they get smaller, I'll need tweezers and a jeweler's loop to deal with them.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      And devices are getting so small that you have to wonder whether, if we want any foorm of interaction, we are on the edge of small enough. Now capacity and power, pile it on.

      That sounds a lot like a "640K ought to be enough for anybody" statement. Without reducing the size of the components that additional capacity and power will be the same size or larger. You've arbitrarily chosen "now" as the time for your relevation. Thank you for not saying "small enough" 30 years ago when we were still amazed a phone could be portable and stylish with their own bag and shoulder strap.

  • Why a SIM? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:26PM (#39536293)
    I'd honestly prefer not to have a SIM and do some form of activation either OTA (over the air) or tethered. I do see the benefit of a card that can be swapped for obvious reasons such as going to a water park (where you take the ultra cheap, who cares if it dies phone), or travelling to a different country where you might buy a prepaid SIM on a local carrier. However we should be able to solve that OTA in some fashion. Perhaps the phones come up with the ability to connect to a clearing house for personalization similar to how they come up able to make emergency services calls? Enter your credentials and they get hashed and sent to the service which then presents back your options "activate device on existing plan, disabling existing phone", "purchase a travel pre-paid account", etc. Why must we have physical cards to prove identity?
    • Re:Why a SIM? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:35PM (#39536347)

      Because without a separate card, you get the Verizon/Sprint problem of refusing to activate devices that don't exist in their ESN database; i.e. devices that they didn't sell themselves at markup on extended contract. The SIM standard at least gives the telcos a (semi?)-secure method of identifying subscribers for billing purposes, while keeping them out of the business of dictating which devices are allowed on the network.

      • by bartoku (922448)
        Let us say Verizon was a GSM carrier today, what stops Verizon from white-listing IMEI numbers?

        Heck we do not have to imagine, what if I brought a non Verizon LTE device with 700 MHz Class 13 support to Verizon?
        There LTE phones have SIM cards, can I use the foreign device device on Verizon's network?
        Everything I have read says no, Verizon still blocks non Verizon devices, but I am still looking for verification.
        If that is true, then the whole premise of SIM cards freeing us goes right out the window.
        • by unixisc (2429386)

          I'd say that for the US market, SIM cards do the exact opposite of protecting carriers. In other markets, where service providers don't bundle the phone along w/ a 2 year service agreement and a consumer has to go out of his way to buy it, SIMs help ensure that no matter what the phone, any carrier can get any customer who it gives a SIM to. In that way, a SIM levels the playing field in the rest of the world.

          However, for the US model, where phones are bundled w/ the services, I don't get why anybody -

          • by bartoku (922448)

            I'd say that for the US market, SIM cards do the exact opposite of protecting carriers.

            When I say that a SIM card only protects the carrier, I am mean in contrast to a Soft-SIM solution. Note that there is no Soft-SIM solution implemented.
            A Soft-SIM solution would allow any carrier to give a user Soft-SIM info to register the user, the user then enters the data in their phone of choice, same level playing field currently in the world.
            A hardware SIM is very hard to hack, hiding and processing the user keys in hardware out of reach of the phone software or hardware.

            However, for the US model, where phones are bundled w/ the services, I don't get why anybody - AT&T, T-Mobile are GSM at all!

            GSM is technically superior

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      So you are not as locked into what your carrier wants to sell you.

      Should also be mandated to be universal on all carriers/phones. ( and automatic unlocking when you have paid off your subsidy )

  • Slashdot hypocrites (Score:1, Interesting)

    by vijayiyer (728590)

    Tme for all the hypocrites to come out against apple who is offering a free, perpetual license for the relevant patents, in favor of those who won't do the same, only because they have an irrational hatred of apple. Just look at the first post.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or the people that see apple has done nothing to improve upon the current sim card design and would actually like to see advancement.

      • Except, you know, making it smaller so that smartphones can make use of the additional space.
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @05:04PM (#39536545) Journal
          Do you have any idea how irrelevant that amount of space is? The standard Mini-SIM is 25x15mm. It's tiny. The Micro-SIM is 15x12mm. It's about as small as it can be without getting lost instantly when you remove it from the phone. The Nano-SIM is 12x9mm. Your phone would save 6x12x0.76mm. A typical smartphone has far more wasted space than that in various places. For applications where that much space actually is important, there is the embedded SIM, which is only 5x6mm.
          • I don't believe you for a second. Do you realize how much extra Pixie Dust you could cram into 54 mm3 ?

            Just that much more awesomeness!

            And some people think that Apple doesn't innovate.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      ... offering a free, perpetual license ...

      I won't believe it until I see that they fully assign the whole patent to the EFF.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:42PM (#39536395) Journal

      Tme for all the hypocrites to come out against apple who is offering a free, perpetual license for the relevant patents, in favor of those who won't do the same, only because they have an irrational hatred of apple. Just look at the first post.

      The are offering a 'free' license only to anyone who licenses their patents under the same conditions. That's not really 'free' that's 'Apple is tired of getting charged license fees by people who've been doing phone R&D rather longer than they have'...

      • by willy_me (212994) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:57PM (#39536499)

        The are offering a 'free' license only to anyone who licenses their patents under the same conditions. That's not really 'free' that's 'Apple is tired of getting charged license fees by people who've been doing phone R&D rather longer than they have'...

        Not really, they are offering the design for 'free' to the standards committee so long as all others with possible patents covering the design do the same. If they get their way, anybody who wants to utilize a the new standard would be free of licensing costs. In no way is Apple trying to get a free ride, they want the ride to be free for everyone.

        • And as the "new standard" is little more than a smaller version of the "current standard" (read the proposals), Apple looks like they are trying to do an end run around the other patent holders and get a nice license from them for free...

        • by narcc (412956)

          That depends on how much they'd be obligated to pay vs how much their patents will bring in -- or their obligation vs the obligation of their competitors.

          Apple doesn't have the patent portfolio of long-time players like Nokia, RIM, and Samsung.

    • by oxdas (2447598)

      The concern for me is this: Apple has proven that they are not for open standards. They have demonstrated that they will do whatever is necessary to feed their bottom line. So, the question I immediately ask is what are they getting out of this and will it eventually hurt me? If this was a company with a history of support for open standards and opposition to patents, I wouldn't be as inclined to question their motives.

      • by hlavac (914630)
        Hmm, I see it the other way: With their fate sealed with the Microsoft devil's deal Nokia is transferring into a patent troll zombie company to be leveraged by Micrsosoft to stop competition to their windows phones (and will stop making phones in the process, which they maybe don't realize but Microsoft planned this since the beginning). All RIM wants is to hurt a competitor by any and all means necessary out of desperation as they can not compete by making a better product, becoming a tool of the dark si
        • by oxdas (2447598)

          I feel like you're making my argument for me, but this isn't your intention. I can see what Nokia gets out of this, money. What does Apple get out of this? I don't believe Apple chooses to spend time and money for purely altruistic motives. So, Apple is gaining something significant out of this, either now or in the future. if your contention is that the only benefit to Apple is a slightly thinner sim card, I'm not buying it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's that they aren't very usefull. Give them a bit more storage capacity, and make a proper, full-featured, standardized format for storing contact data and the like on it. Last time I moved a sim card from one phone to another, I ended up having to manually edit all of the contact details to fix things because phone manufacturers can't get their shit together.

    • Why would you want to store contacts on the SIM? If the phone is lost, typically the SIM is lost too. You should back up the contacts onto another machine. That's why most older phones support SyncML and other open standards for syncing and Android phones support a proprietary standard for storing all of your personal data where Google can index it.

      The purpose of the SIM is being an isolated crypto chip for handshaking with the network that can't be compromised as a result of the phone's OS being comp

      • It's not the limitations of a contacts list, it's that you can't store much in the way of SMS on it, let alone audio/video files.

        If they produced something that was a cross between a SIM and a 32GB TF card, _that_ would be very useful, it would mean you could take your contacts/SMS/email/pictures/videos/apps and whatever smartphone you put it into, _that_ would be your phone, meaning easier backing up of your data (just plug it into an adaptor for a PC and press 'copy') and easier to switch phones in the
      • If you regularly swap out sims between phones (not just when you replace a phone) having the contacts on the SIM is very convenient, and infinitely more reliable that trying to perform an N-directional sync using SyncML.

        Also every single one of the Smart Phone OSs have decided to abandon SyncML, and the alternatives they offer all involve various cloud services. Even if I was okay with storing that information in the cloud (which I am not), it doesn't help me, because my 10+ years of backup contact info isn

    • by Teun (17872)
      The newer SIM's and all micro SIM's support storing your contacts etc.
      • by pavon (30274)

        Note the "proper, full-featured" part of the post. All SIM have had basic support for contacts, but the standard is missing many important features that all phones today use (like a single contact having multiple numbers ). They also have very low limits on the number of contacts you can store.

  • by wanderfowl (2534492) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:37PM (#39536363)

    Why do we even have SIM cards at all? My impression is that they're basically read-only storage for a set of identifiers/credentials used by the carrier. Why not just allow the customer or company to input/transfer those credentials as needed? Or just allow a customer to fire up a new phone, input a username and password for their account, and then have the phone download the information needed to some bit of internal storage?

    I'm actually asking, as I honestly don't know. What does the continued existence of a read-only SIM card which must be inserted into the phone win us?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Last time i heard they also store your contacts and things, so its not just read-only.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Plain and simple: to prevent fraud and impersonation.

      With a physical component, there is a 1:1 relationship between the phone and the account, give or take some swapping around. So you know who owns the SIM and who is to be billed.

      If you use software/configuration downloads, there's a significant potential for phone fraud, with people "hacking" your ID info and using it to get "free calls" at your expense.

    • Some people want to be able to swap out SIM cards. While not everyone needs this, it is useful in some cases.
      • by Whuffo (1043790)

        The ability to switch out SIM cards is actually quite useful. But those who think that America is the whole world won't understand that.

        I live in Asia; we've got a larger population than the US, and many, many more cell phones. They're all GSM phones and every one has a SIM card (or two, maybe three).

        Here's how it comes in handy: cell carrier X decides that all calls to customers on cell carrier X are free. What if you're a customer of cell carrier Y? Just swap in a X SIM; they're available everywhere for

    • They could certainly stand to be rather more featurefull(given that computational power has gotten slightly cheaper since they were introduced; but SIMs aren't just a little slab of ROM.

      They implement a full processor on board, to do some sort of challenge/response cryptographic ID for verification purposes(considerably more robust than your usual password. It turns out that carriers can get their thumbs out of their asses if there's a potential for billing problems not in their favor...)

      They also pro
    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:49PM (#39536443)
      The SIM isn't just a memory card. It also has onboard processing. Not much, but just enough to perform a handshake: The network actually authenticates the SIM itsself, with the phone just acting as a network interface and power supply. That way it is practically impossible to clone a SIM (There are ways, but they are far beyond the abilities of even most specialists in the field). As for why they are used, it's a regulatory thing intended to decouple the network operators from control of the devices, which could be seen as a conflict of interest or as a way to prevent customers from moving to a new operator (If they couldn't just move the SIM, they'd have to buy a completly new device).
    • It's not read-only, the SIM content is upgradable over the air using the SIM Toolkit system. It's a protocol allowing the SIM, which is a small computer (can be programmed in Java nowadays, see the JavaCard specs), to talk to a provisioning system in the operator backbone through the modem, independently of any support on the phone application processor.

      In addition to the private user credentials, the SIM also contains some operator private information like roaming partner operators and their priority/pre
  • I don't care about the size of the SIM chips, have you seen the speed of these stupid things, they make a 386 look speedy!
  • They're going out of business anyway.

  • I have no issue with the microsim (although I think it's lunacy to make it even smaller) but really you'd think they'd wait for everyone to adopt the microsim before pushing.

    Most people I know with microsims are using theirs in adapters.
    I think apple only thinks of the US shores, there's countries like China and India will hundreds of millions of devices, a switchc isn't an easy thing to do.

  • its not an big issue to make sim card size smaller coz we all love new technologies and also we all like to have portable and small things which we can carry easily.... Ya the only things matters is space not with the technology cozz may be apple have plan something new to add in its products..

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

Working...