While smartphone makers are constantly looking for ways to refine the form factors of their devices, it could once again come down to SIM. Although the eSim was designed precisely to save the space of a SIM slot by integrating it directly into the terminal, here comes the turn of the iSim, which should once again allow the ecosystem to take a new technological leap.
In fact, Qualcomm introduced this new innovation on Tuesday, which is based on a simple principle: with it, the SIM card is now integrated directly into the silicon design of a system on a chip (SoC). Enough to allow “better system integration, higher performance and greater memory capacity,” boasts the world leader in the manufacture of processors.
For the American giant, this technology -presented as a direct descendant of the eSim- represents nothing less than the future of the sector. “It paves the way for the integration of mobile services on devices other than mobile phones, by extending the mobile experience to laptops, tablets, virtual reality platforms, IoT devices or even wearable devices,” says do we from Qualcomm’s side.
A new revolution for smartphone form factors?
And to add that unlike the eSim, which requires a separate chip, “the iSim no longer makes it necessary and eliminates the need for a space dedicated to SIM services”. Enough to delight smartphone makers, who, after ditching the 3.5mm jack from nearly all of their models, are now eyeing SIM slots to further refine their devices.
Still, the benefits of iSim go beyond hardware innovation. As illustrated by Qualcomm during a proof-of-concept (POC) demo conducted with the help of Vodafone and Thalès on the European continent, this iSim consolidates SIM functionality into the device’s core chipset alongside other critical capabilities such as GPU, CPU and Modem. This new type of eSim will also open mobile services connection capabilities to a large number of devices that previously could not integrate the SIM function, says the American giant.
“iSIM solutions offer great opportunities for electronics manufacturers, freeing up valuable space on devices and providing flexibility for device users to harness the full potential of 5G networks and experiences across a wide range of device categories,” said Enrico Salvatori, president of EMEA for Qualcomm during the demo. And to add that by “integrating iSIM technology into the SoC, we can create additional OEM support on our Snapdragon platform.”
It now remains to be known the calendar set by the various stakeholders in this innovation for the launch of this new type of dematerialized “SIM card” in the future SoCs of our smartphones. While this technology builds on existing eSIM infrastructure and is rolled out (sometimes belatedly) by carriers, iSim could hopefully take less time to go mainstream than its predecessor.
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