Micro-SIM cards have slowly been growing in usage since we first began seeing them last year, with devices like the iPhone 4S, Nokia Lumia 800, and some of Verizon's newer 4G LTE devices all using the micro-SIM rather than a traditional SIM card. It looks like some folks aren't quite satisfied with the size of the micro-SIM, though, as a German company named Giesecke & Devrient recently took the wraps off of an even smaller version dubbed the nano-SIM. G&D, the company responsible for manufacturing the first SIM cards back in 1991, say that the nano-SIM measures 12mm x 9mm in size, which makes it 30 percent smaller than the 12mm x 15mm micro-SIM. The thickness of the nano-SIM has also been decreased by about 15 percent. That's pretty tiny, but G&D promises that the new nano-SIM will be backward compatible with older devices using an adapter. The firm says that nano-SIMs could begin appearing in products as soon as early next year.
So why continue to shrink the SIM? As our devices become smaller and thinner, the companies making them have to continue to figure out different ways to shave millimeters off of phones and tablets. For example, the DROID RAZR not only uses a micro-SIM for its LTE connectivity but also includes a non-removable battery to help get its body down to a thickness of 7.1mm. The size difference between the nano-SIM and the micro-SIM may not seem like much, but when you're talking about phones that are 7-9mm in thickness, every little bit helps. I'm just glad that SIMs aren't something that need to be switched on a regular basis. If they were, I probably would've lost at least 17 by now.
G&D Presents World’s First Nano-SIM Card
Munich, November 11, 2011 – Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) presents the world’s smallest SIM card: the nano-SIM. A third smaller than the micro-SIM, the nano-SIM enables manufacturers to produce devices that are even thinner and perform even better. This new development from G&D could be finding its way into the first mobile devices as early as next year.
Some 20 years on from producing the first ever SIM cards, G&D is leading the current trend towards smaller cards. At the CARTES & IDentification 2011 trade show in Paris, the Munich-based technology group is displaying the world’s smallest SIM card to date.
Measuring approximately 12mm x 9mm, the nano-SIM is about 30 percent smaller than the micro-SIM. The thickness of the cards has been reduced by about 15 percent – a tremendous technical challenge. Compared to the SIM cards most widely used today, the nano-SIM is almost 60 percent smaller. It offers device manufacturers the crucial advantage of freeing up extra space for other mobile phone components, such as additional memory or larger batteries. And because nano-SIM cards are significantly smaller and thinner, they will also make it easier to create thinner devices.
Initial samples were made available by G&D to various mobile network operators for testing. The standardization of the nano-SIM is expected to be implemented through the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) by the end of the year.
Backward compatibility with older device models is ensured by an adapter solution that allows the nano-SIM to be integrated into all established mobile devices for universal use.
“The invention of the SIM card remains a milestone in the history of G&D. With the nano-SIM, we have shown how this development can move closer to perfection,” claims Axel Deininger, Head of G&D’s Secure Devices division.
G&D will be showcasing the nano-SIM at the CARTES & IDentification 2011 trade show from November 15 to 17 at stand 4 J 001.