Java Card technology enables smart cards and other devices with very limited memory to run small applications, called applets, that employ Java technology. It provides smart card manufacturers with a secure and interoperable execution platform that can store and update multiple applications on a single device. Deployed in markets as diverse as Telecommunications, Finance and Citizen ID, Java Card technology is the most pervasive open platform for secure devices, with over 3.5 Billion Java Powered smart cards deployed worldwide. Sun Microsystems is now releasing the latest specifications of its market leading Java Card technology, and industry experts believe it will revolutionize the way smart card services are conceived and deployed.
Since the introduction of Java Card technology in 1997, Sun Microsystems and its licensees have been working closely to make sure the specifications remain current and continue to to reflect the latest requirements from the smart card industry. Version 2.2.2 released in 2006, was the 6th update based on the original architecture for Java Card technology.
Smart card hardware has progressed tremendously over the last ten years. Conventional smart card silicon comprising 8/16 bit microprocessors with up to 256K EPROM and a 115Kbaud half duplex interface is giving way to state of the art 32 bit RISCs with Gigabytes of Flash and a full speed USB 2.0 communications. Often the silicon can support multiple communication interfaces each capable of running with independent co-resident applications.
New applications previously thought impossible are now being contemplated. Naturally, when you can store entire movies on a card or encrypt/decrypt a real-time video conference or run a full web server on the card, the application potential is enormous. However, the requirement for security that is the cornerstone of multi-application smart cards has not diminished.
At the same time, there is an ever demanding demand for high-volume, Java Card technology-based smart cards. These cards may be implemented on fairly resource constrained chips, yet they need to aligned with the latest smart card and cryptography standards.
To address opportunities on both ends of the smart card hardware spectrum, Java Card 3 technology will take an evolutionary step. It will introduce the first new Java Card technology architecture in ten years. At the same time it will continue to serve the existing markets and deployed applications. The key to this achievement is the introduction of two Editions of Java Card 3 technology.
Next Generation Java Card technology will be available in two separate, yet coherent editions.
Java Card technology, Classic Edition is based on an evolution of the Java Card Platform, Version 2.2.2 and targets more resource-constrained devices that support traditional applet-based applications. It introduces several incremental changes to the previous version to ensure alignment with smart card and security standards.
Java Card technology, Connected Edition features a significantly enhanced execution environment and a new virtual machine. It includes new network-oriented features, such as support for web applications, and support for applets with extended and advanced capabilities.
Both Editions are compatible with applications written for previous versions. They also share key security features and build on the trust and expertise derived from ten years of deploying secure Java Card products.
There will be a new development environment for Java Card 3 based applications development. Java for smart cards is growing up to encompass much more of mainstream Java capability. New advanced tools will be made available later to help rapid application development and testing. In short, application development will become easier and more fun.
Time to let your imagination free. Do what you always wanted to do with smart cards but could never do before. Write the applications which will change the way people think. No holds barred. The Java Card 3 technology is all ready for the future, and it's available now.