The OpenCard Framework standard, originally proposed by a group of Network Computer supporters including IBM Corp, Netscape Communications Corp, Oracle Corp’s Network Computer Inc division and Sun Microsystems Inc (CI No 3,129), has at last won support from some of the major smart card manufacturers. The manufacturers, including 3GI, ActivCard Inc, Brokat GmbH, Bull PTS, Gemplus SA, Litronic Inc, Motorola Inc, Philips NV, SGS Thomson Microelectronics, UbiQ Inc and Utimaco Safeware AG, will join the computer vendors in a co-operative workgroup to further the development of the standard, the first reference implementation of which, written in Java, has just been released. OpenCard was originally aimed at Network Computers, but now it’s been broadened to include support for personal computers, ATMs, GSM and PCS cellular phones and point of sale terminals. It provides a standard application interface that lets programmers get access to smart card functionality, such as secure data storage and strong digital authentication, and speeds up integration with heterogeneous computer network-based applications. Sun said it would be implementing OpenCard as part of its network management and network computer strategies, and claimed it was a strong compliment to its Java Card standard platform for smart cards. The specification is available from the OpenCard web site.
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