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SIM card pioneer debuts nano-SIM, destined to make swapping phones even harder

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One of the originators of the SIM standard has designed a new "nano-SIM" that's considerably smaller than the micro-SIM it hopes to replace.

SIM card
SIM card

Apple's use of the micro-SIM in the iPhone caused a bit of a row in the wireless industry because it fragmented a standard that had been in place for nearly twenty years, making it more difficult for customers to effortlessly switch phones just by swapping SIMs. It's going to take a few more years yet, but the problem is starting to dissipate as more manufacturers — Nokia and Pantech, just to name a couple — hop on board the micro-SIM train.

Just when we thought all would be made right again, though, Giesecke & Devrient — the German firm that made the world's first commercial SIMs back in 1991 — has debuted a new "nano-SIM" that trims about 30 percent of the size off the already tiny micro-SIM. Though it's thinner than both the standard SIM and the micro-SIM, G&D promises that reverse compatibility with older devices will still be ensured with an adapter — not a great solution, of course, but it's better than producing an entirely incompatible component.

And don't expect this one to go quietly into the night: the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has taken up the nano-SIM, and official recognition of the specification is expected by the end of the year. G&D has already provided samples to operators, too. And you thought micro-SIMs were easy to lose?