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first Java™ Card 2.0 based smartcard implemented on a 32 bit RISC processor

Gemplus introduces GemXpresso Rapid Applet Development (RAD), Gemplus’ first Java™ Card implementing the new version 2.0 of SUN Microsystems’ Java Card standard on a 32-bit RISC processor. GemXpresso RAD is the first member of the GemXpresso family, Gemplus’ line of Java smartcards. GemXpresso RAD contains the smartcard and the associated software.

“Gemplus’ introduction of a smartcard with a 32-bit processor adds a new element to the exciting range of powerful solutions based on Java,” says Patrice Peyret, Director of the Smartcard Group at JavaSoft, a business unit of SUN Microsystems, Inc. “The combination of more powerful hardware and Java Card 2.0’s advanced software architecture will allow the rapid development of new and more advanced smartcard applications.”

Gemplus, co-founder of the Java Card Forum, has been providing extensive input and feedback to JavaSoft, to build this completely new specification. Gemplus has been working for many years on specifications and development of an open modular card operating system, especially through Integrity Arts, its subsidiary recently acquired by SUN.

GemXpresso Rapid Applet Development, to be released early 98, is targeted at the developers community. In an industry where the most advanced chipcard has been limited to 8-bit microprocessor until now, GemXpresso RAD offers unprecedented new performance capabilities to developers with a Java platform containing a virtual machine and class libraries based on a 32-bit processor, and defined in Java Card 2.0.

“Providing a 32-bit platform to Java developpers will considerably ease the integration of the smartcard in a Java development environment like Visual Age for Java,” says Sanjaya Addamki, General Manager of Network Computing Solutions, IBM EMEA. “Gemplus is providing the right link between the IT industry and the smartcard industry with GemXpresso Rapid Applet Development.”

GemXpresso RAD provides a modern rapid application development environment to allow developers to develop and test new applets in a fraction of the time traditionally required, underscoring the productivity enhancements benefits of this new technology.  GemXpresso RAD includes the GemXpresso Converter, Loader and Tester. The GemXpresso Converter verifies the applet code compliance with the Java Card 2.0 APIs and produces the byte code for the 32 bit Virtual Machine.  Developers can then use the GemXpresso Loader to load the applet on the card, and the GemXpresso Tester to dynamically generate the terminal-based Java library interfacing with the applet, in order to test the applet functionalities.

GemXpresso RAD will allow customers to take full benefit of modern Java technology, including rapid applet develoment, dynamic applet loading, and interoperability between cards implementing the Java Card 2.0 APIs.

In the ever increasing competitiveness of today’s market, fast response to market opportunities is a key factor. Implementing a service on traditional smartcards is a long process because of the 8 bit architecture, the low-level assembly language tools, and the time to mask the application in ROM.

GemXpresso offers a new paradigm with its unique 32 bit platform for performance, the high-level Java language, the Rapid Applet Development environment for improved developer productivity, and the non-volatile flash memory feature for minimising testing time and avoiding the customary masking step.

“Visa is extremely pleased that Gemplus has choosen to make significant investments in JavaCard. As one of the industry leaders, Gemplus can enable the delivery of chip card solutions to Visa members, giving card issuers as well as application developers the benefit of using a single tool to ‘write once, run anywhere’,” says François Dutray, Group Executive Vice President, Visa International. “We believe that GemXpresso RAD tools should accelerate the market adoption of multi-function cards and attract a pool of software developers to build JavaCard applications for our banks.”

“We are pleased that Gemplus is taking the lead to provide tools and cards to facilitate the deployment of Java smartcards,” says Nicholas Fung, Head of Chip & Debit, Standard Chartered Bank, “and this will certainly boost the banking industry’s confidence on this open platform technology.”

Additional Information about Gemplus

Gemplus Group is the world’s leading producer of magnetic stripe cards and smart cards. Gemplus manufactures and sells memory cards, microprocessor cards (both contact and contactless), magnetic stripe cards, as well as electronic tags. It also designs and markets software, terminals and systems; and provides personalisation, consultancy and training services to offer its customers comprehensive solutions.

In 1996, Gemplus’ total sales were $440 million (equivalent to £281 million on 15 October 1997). In 1997, the company boasts a production capacity of 900 million magnetic stripe and smart cards.

Gemplus sells its products worldwide for such applications as public and cellular telephony, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, gaming, identity, access control, pay TV, security for computer networks and electronic commerce.

The first live demonstration of GemXpresso Rapid Applet Development will be carried out at Cartes 97, 15-17 October in Paris, on Gemplus’ booth E16 -D18/E17.  Information about Gemplus’ products and services can be found on the World Wide Web at:

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