The end of SIM cards? ARM outs iSIM, integrated directly into the chipset

The end of SIM cards? ARM outs iSIM, integrated directly into the chipset
ARM, the architect of all chips mobile and frugal, is onto the case of the disappearing SIM card. You see, the current nano SIMs are too big for it, and it knows that phone and Internet-of-Things manufacturers could use this space for things like, ahem, larger battery packs, to name one.

That is why ARM, which doesn't own a chip foundry, but creates the underlying architecture behind all those processor cores that end up in Qualcomm's Snapdragon, Apple's A-line, or Samsung's Exynos chipsets, now comes with an iSIM solution. What would an iSIM (integrated SIM) be, you ask?

Well, a programmable SIM card, similar to the eSIM (embedded SIM) in Google's Pixel 2, but cast as an integral part of the system-on-chip paraphernalia that comes with each Snapdragon or Exynos. Besides the processing cores, those sport Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips, as well as wireless LTE modems, for instance, and now ARM will slap a SIM card in them, too. It says it can shrink the area that is now occupied by the Subscriber Identity Module to just a fraction of a square millimeter.

That means that the SIM card trays, and those little plasticky things with chips in them, can become a thing of the past, and the space saved could be dedicated to something else altogether inside the ever-shrinking space in our smartphones and all random connected gadgets. Svelte.

source: ARM

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17 Comments

1. tangbunna

Posts: 464; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

no sim, no buy.

3. libra89

Posts: 2265; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yeah, I like being able to switch my SIM when I want to between phones and just have it work.

10. KingSam

Posts: 1403; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

You know it's programmable right. Probably a matter of registering on a new carrier.

11. sgodsell

Posts: 7042; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Instead of putting effort of integrating a sim on the SoC. How about these OEMs start integrating all the RAM, and fast storage and make that built into the SoC. It's not like anyone can change the built in ram or storage on smartphones. So do that instead.

2. dazzmichael

Posts: 71; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

Lovely, Hope it helps to reduce phone theft.

5. Derekjeter

Posts: 1459; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

This will definitely reduce phone theft. The bad thing for me is I won’t be able to switch out my AT&T SIM card in to my Verizon iPhone when I travel to Mexico. AT&T offers unlimited data to Mexico and Verizon does not.

6. Junito

Posts: 143; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

So just as Convers sneakers, what's old is new again. We are going back to the old Verizon days.

7. tedkord

Posts: 17201; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not good. eSIM doesn't allow switching between carriers. If this doesn't, either, all we'll end up with is permanently carrier locked phones. So, I'm sure Verizon will adopt it ASAP.

16. talon95

Posts: 990; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

They will have to make transferable to comply with unlocking laws. It would certainly be useless otherwise.

8. Sania

Posts: 97; Member since: Nov 04, 2017

It’s like going back to stoneage lol

12. Shubham412302

Posts: 568; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Sim cards will live on forever atleast with non carrier phones

13. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

KInda feel like a yo-yo here. Sortf of a... GSM, to CDMA, back to GSM (4G LTE), now back to a CDMA type (iSIM).

14. Paximos

Posts: 282; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck If a woodchuck could chuck wood? As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

15. talon95

Posts: 990; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

That's awesome, I love it. The option for a second external SIM would still be ideal.

17. k9luvr

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 17, 2016

Anyone ever heard of a dual sim phone? I believe they could make two sims available on the SOC. Only real problem would be the carriers can control who downloads their sim info and could blacklist your phone (if not sold by the carrier) when you have a new unlocked phone. Verizon tries to do this now. You can work around this by taking the new sim card and putting it into a phone that is already on their network and activating the sim. Then stick it into your non carrier branded phone and it will work.

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