DSP, Micros & Memory


New generation smartcard reader controller

20 April 2005 DSP, Micros & Memory

At the smartcard industry trade exhibition, Cartes 2004, TDK Semiconductor unveiled its TDK 73S12xx family of 8-bit system-on-chips dedicated to low-cost smartcard readers. Targeted applications include smartcard readers embedded into laptops and USB-connected PIN-pad smartcard readers. Applications include identification and digital signature for corporate and government deployments, as well as home-banking schemes such as the MasterCard Chip-Authentication-Program.

The new 72S12xx products will offer cost reduction and enhanced features such as a high-speed 20-MIPS 80C52 core, built-in ISO-7816 interface, optional USB and PIN-pad interfaces, realtime clock, and more, says TDK. The 73S12xx will allow manufacturers of PIN-pads to build, at an attractive cost, USB-connected PIN-pad smartcard readers with features such as high-speed card communication, full-speed USB, and PIN encryption. According to TDK, various flavours will be introduced to cover particular applications such as a small pin-count option to enable PC manufacturers to incorporate a turnkey smartcard reader solution into laptops or PC keyboards, and a high pin-count option for single-chip PIN-pad readers.

Jean-Christophe Doucet, senior product manager at TDK Semiconductor, commented, "Vendors of PIN-pad readers currently have to make a choice between performance and production cost. Until now it has been impossible to build a USB-connected PIN-pad reader with a viable selling price for home-banking and digital identification markets, but the 73S12xx products will change all that."

ActivCard, a global provider of strong authentication and trusted digital identity solutions, has already evaluated the TDK smartcard reader controller platform for the latest member of its PIN-pad card reader family, the ActivReader SOLO. According to Mehdi Bermy, financial solutions manager at ActivCard, "We have been using TDK solutions for several years in our products. The upcoming 73S12xx gathers the enhanced features we were looking for, but more importantly, at an attractive cost that will enable us to address our markets."



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