Windows open for smartcards

Windows open for smartcards
Tom Foremski Microsoft has released a test version of its Windows operating system tailored to smartcards. Philippe Goetschel, Micro-soft’s director of Smart Card for Windows, said the company’s entry into the smartcard industry is “meeting and even exceeding” its expectations. “One of the key drivers of next-generation smartcards is the fact that they are increasingly becoming an extension of the traditional Windows environment,” said Goetschel. The preview release of the operating system was announced at the CardTech/ SecurTech (CTST) conference held in Chicago. Microsoft’s interest could galvanise US support for smartcard applications where deployment lags behind Europe and Asia. Companies launching pilot programmes based on multi-function smartcards and Microsoft’s software include US financial services giant Merrill Lynch, with industry support coming from Atmel. Sun Microsystems, in turn, claimed widespread support for its Java Card technology which is competing with Microsoft’s software. Sun says that its Java Card software is smaller than other solutions, and its cross-platform capabilities enable it to run on a range of hardware. Java Card licensees have already shipped more than one million Java-enabled cards in the last quarter alone, and Sun has 30 licensees. Atmel and Polaroid demonstrated a biometric smartcard application. A smartcard with a photo ID stores a digitised version of the user’s fingerprint. A Polaroid fingerprint scanner is then used to confirm the print matches that in the card.


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