MIPS TECHNOLOGIES UNVEILS NEXT-GENERATION SMART CARD TECHNOLOGY
New "Computer-on-a-Card" Technology Gives Consumers The Security and Convenience Needed for Personal Transactions
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 20, 2001 - Leading the charge in creating flexible and innovative technologies for the burgeoning smart card market, MIPS Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: MIPS, MIPSB) today introduced the SmartMIPS[tm] architecture, a new licensable architecture designed to become the industry standard for next-generation smart card processors. The SmartMIPS architecture is ready for immediate license by global semiconductor manufacturers who wish to supply this technology to the smart card marketplace.
MIPS Technologies' architecture is the most widely licensed in the world, enabling customers the flexibility to create and implement their own processor designs. MIPS Technologies is now extending this business model philosophy to the smart card market.
Today's announcement by MIPS Technologies follows the company's joint announcement in July 2000 with Gemplus SA (Gemenos, France) (Nasdaq: GEMP) to create an architectural standard for next-generation smart card chips. Gemplus is the world's number one provider of smart card-based solutions.
MIPS Technologies today also introduced the new MIPS32? 4KSc? smart card core, a high-performance embedded 32-bit processor, jointly defined with Gemplus, that implements the new SmartMIPS architecture for ultra-low power advanced smart card applications. (See accompanying MIPS32 4KSc smart card core press release.)
Consumers Require Smart Cards for Secure, Convenient and Personal Transactions
The drive to consolidate consumer information on a single secure platform, combined with a dramatic increase in applications requiring a host of personal data, has exploded the demand for smart card technologies. Existing smart card technology, based on 8- and 16-bit chips with proprietary operating systems, is not powerful enough to provide consumers with the security and convenience needed for personal transactions. The next generation of 32-bit smart cards, based on the proven MIPS32? architecture, will offer consumers higher levels of security while hosting multiple applications on a single card.
Smart cards, which have an embedded microprocessor chip, are able to store hundreds of times more information than a traditional magnetic stripe card and can be programmed to perform multiple applications. Advanced data encryption and a secure operating system running on the smart card stops unwanted discovery and corruption of private data, thus preventing consumer fraud and preserving personal privacy.
"SmartMIPS, which was jointly defined by MIPS Technologies and Gemplus, has significant advantages for smart card companies," said Bertrand Cambou, COO of Gemplus SA. "We will implement the SmartMIPS architecture in a new generation of 32-bit smart cards to maintain our industry leadership position."
"Smart cards based upon the SmartMIPS architecture will ensure safe and secure consumer transactions," said John Bourgoin, chairman and CEO of MIPS Technologies. "MIPS Technologies, together with the market leader Gemplus, has created the SmartMIPS architecture which provides fast, efficient cryptography and code compression to efficiently store larger programs, optimized for tomorrow's operating system platforms such as Sun Microsystems' Java Card technology and Microsoft's Windows for Smart Card. These are the features that will make the cards secure, flexible, easy to use and more attractive to consumers and businesses."
Smart Card Usage Expands Each Year
Though nearly unknown to the average U.S. consumer until recently, smart cards are integral to commerce and the delivery of services in Europe - and increasingly Asia - where they are being used in mobile phones, as stored-value cards for public phones, health-care provider ID cards and more. In the U.S., the most widespread application of smart cards to date is as employee key cards that verify an employee's identity and control access to company facilities. Most users though are unaware they are using a smart card.
In the near future it will be possible to use only one smart card - a "computer on a card" - for applications such as accessing medical information when visiting a doctor's office, opening a bank account, conducting online transactions, using vending machines and interacting with home Internet devices such as set-top boxes and residential gateways.
As an access-control device, smart cards make personal and business data available only to the appropriate users. Although most commonly embedded in plastic cards, smart cards are also found in tags, fobs and watches and can even be embedded in packaged liquids and implanted into animals.
During the next five years, industry analysts predict dramatic growth for smart cards - especially in cards that enable users to conduct e-commerce and provide secure access to computer networks. According to market research firm Dataquest, more than 500 million microprocessor-based smart cards were shipped in 1999. Dataquest forecasts by 2004 more than 1.75 billion microprocess-based smart cards will be shipped. The first push in the U.S. is likely to come from forward-thinking financial, retail, and service institutions. Among their incentives are improving the effectiveness of marketing programs, increasing customer loyalty, reducing Internet fraud, and decreasing the cost of delivering services.
The Technology Behind the SmartMIPS Architecture
Founded on the proven MIPS32 RISC architecture, the SmartMIPS architecture is an application specific extension that is optimized for smart card applications with cryptography, code compression, Sun Microsystems' Java Card? technology and Microsoft Windows for Smartcards. (See product data sheet on the SmartMIPS architecture). SmartMIPS-based 32-bit smart cards allow the development of multi-application smart cards while bringing down system costs through a reduction in die size, power consumption and component count. Integrated cryptography enhancements eliminate the need for dedicated coprocessors. The SmartMIPS architecture's cryptography enhancements bring a higher level of security to the MIPS32 4KSc smart card core.
These new cryptography enhancements support, in software, a wide variety of both public- and secret-key cryptography algorithms, including RSA, DES, AES and Elliptic Curve Cryptography. By having the security features embedded into software and not the processor future security software upgrades can be easily downloaded from the field. Therefore, the actual cards do not need to be recalled as a result of a potential breach in the security algorithm.
Features of the SmartMIPS architecture include:
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- The MIPS cryptography enhancements define a powerful set of new instructions that dramatically accelerate software cryptography. They also include instructions to speed both public and secret key algorithms
- MIPS16 code compression reduces application code size
- Special instructions to speed virtual machine implementations
- Secure memory spaces, built upon the SmartMIPS architecture's page protection attributes, separate sensitive consumer data from rogue applications
- The SmartMIPS architecture's privilege resource architecture (PRA) also supports page sizes as small as 1K bytes to suit the requirements often demanded by smart card applications
MIPS Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital consumer and network applications. The company drives the broadest architectural alliance that is delivering 32- and 64-bit embedded RISC solutions. The company licenses its intellectual property to semiconductor companies, ASIC developers, and system OEMs. MIPS Technologies, Inc. and its licensees offer the widest range of robust, scaleable processors in standard, custom, semi-custom and application-specific products.
Licensees currently include: Alchemy Semiconductor, Inc., Altera Corporation, ATI Technologies, Inc., Atmel Corporation, Broadcom Corporation, Centillium Communications, Inc., Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Ltd., Conexant Systems, Inc., empowerTel Networks, Inc. (formerly known as Lara Technology, Inc.), ESS Technology, Inc., Gemplus International S.A., Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT), inSilicon Corporation, Integrated Telecom Express, Inc. (ITeX), LSI Logic Corporation, Macronix America, Inc., Metalink, Ltd., Micron Technology, Inc., General Instrument Corporation (acquired by Motorola, Inc.), NEC Corporation, NeoMagic Corporation, NKK Corporation, Palmchip Corporation, Philips Semiconductors International B.V., Quantum Effect Devices, Inc. (acquired by PMC-Sierra, Inc.), QuickLogic Corporation, Sandcraft, Inc., SiByte, Inc. (acquired by Broadcom Corporation), Sony Corporation, Synova, Inc., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, TeraLogic, Inc., Texas Instruments Incorporated, Toshiba Corporation and Excess Bandwidth Corporation (acquired by Virata Corporation). Numerous companies utilize MIPS-based intellectual property. MIPS Technologies, Inc. is based in Mountain View, Calif., and can be reached at (650) 567-5000 or http://www.mips.com
This press release may contain forward-looking statements regarding future events or the future financial performance of MIPS Technologies, Inc. Actual events or results may differ materially. Many important factors could cause the actual results to differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the risks that products will fail to achieve market acceptance, the timing of customer orders, delays in the design process, the length of MIPS Technologies' sales cycle, MIPS Technologies' ability to develop, introduce and market new products and product enhancements, the timing of new product announcements and introductions by MIPS Technologies and its licensees and their competitors, the demand for semiconductors and end-user products that incorporate semiconductors and other risks. With respect to MIPS Technologies, Inc. we refer you to the documents that it files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2000 and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2000.
MIPS® is a registered trademark, and SmartMIPS?, MIPS-basedTM, MIPS32TM and 4KScTM are trademarks of MIPS Technologies, Inc. Sun, Sun Microsystems, Java and Java Card are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies
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