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[All-in-one hardware and software package will help design engineers develop Point of Sale Terminals that communicate with the new ‘chip and PIN’ credit cards and meet EMV Standards]

In the week when new fraud-cutting 'chip and pin' credit cards went on trial in Northampton, Alpha Micro Components has announced exclusive UK distribution rights for a brand new chip from TDK Semiconductors that allows design engineers to quickly and cost-effectively develop Point of Sale (POS) devices that support this new form of financial transaction.

TDK's 73S1121F is the first system-on-a-chip designed specifically for EMV (Europay, Mastercard and VISA) smart card terminals. With 850,000 Point of Sale terminals being upgraded in the next 18 months to ensure compliance with the new EMV regulations, due to come into force in January 2005, Alpha Micro is understandably expecting high demand for the new chip.

The chip looks certain to revolutionise the design of e-commerce terminals, payphones and e-wallet readers. Offering an unparalleled opportunity to minimise engineering effort, the 73S1121F comes with fully documented driver software, including EMV-compliant protocol layers.

The 73S1121F profoundly simplifies system design for engineers unfamiliar with the EMV standard, while freeing experienced EMV systems designers from the trouble of writing basic interface code. The software onboard the chip is based around a two-level Application Programming Interface (API), with functions written in widely-used ANSI-C. A high-level API handles communications protocols and the management of subsystems like display and memory, while a low-level API is available for the control of chip parameters such as register settings and power modes.

The 73S1121F is the first complete implementation of a third-generation smart-card terminal controller. The first generation, in the mid-90s, comprised separate smart card interface chips connected to a host micro-controller, and used software to handle protocol processing. Second generation offerings were single chip but only afforded limited capabilities, I/O interfaces and memory. The 73S1121F is a much more complete solution, with fuller provision of memory, interfacing and peripherals. Two smart card interfaces and up to eight security modules can be connected to the 73S1121F simultaneously, and range of connectors native to the 73S1121F allows connection to a PC via serial, USB, LCD and keyboard.

Extensive application support for the 73S1121 is available in the UK via Alpha Micro Components. The 73S1121F is currently sampling and comes in a 128-pin TQPF or in die form.

Further information can be obtained from:
UK and Europe:
Peter Smith, Marketing Manager, Alpha Micro, Springfield House, Cranes Road, Sherborne St. John, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9LJ, United Kingdom, Tel: + 44 (0)1256 851770 Fax: + 44 (0)1256 851 771.
Email: Website:

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