Smart Card IC allows flexible 176 Kb memory partitioning.

Press Release Summary:

EMTCG176-3G contains 176 Kb of pure, non-volatile flash memory, which is organized in 2 sectors of different granularities: 48 Kb in pages of 8 bytes (1 byte programmable), and 128 Kb in pages of 512 bytes. Flexibility eliminates difference between code and data space, letting user decide what amount of code is allocated to OS and use remaining space for data. Unit uses analog, triple hardware DES encryption algorithms and 8051 microcontroller core.

Original Press Release:

EM Microelectronic Introduces the First Smart Card IC Allowing Flexible 176 KB Memory Partitioning Between Code and Data

Using flash technology, service providers now have the flexibility to reduce intermediate inventory and shorten time to market

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - May 24, 2005 - EM Microelectronic, an electronic systems company of the Swatch Group, announces the EMTCG176-3G, a unique flash memory-based smart card IC designed for use in SIM and Java cards for GSM mobile phones, as well as for healthcare and loyalty card applications. The EMTCG176-3G is compatible with the ISO7816-3 Integrated Circuit Card (smart card) specification, and operates with high speed communication baud rates, making it compatible with the 3rd generation of cellular telephones.

Memory flexibility is a key advantage of the EMTCG176-3G, which contains 176 KB of pure flash memory. The 176 KB non-volatile memory is organized in two sectors of different granularities: 48 KB in pages of 8 Bytes (1 Byte programmable), and 128 KB in pages of 512 Bytes. This means that there is no difference anymore between code space and data space. Because some data doesn't always need to be byte-addressable (e.g. SMS), the user can decide what amount of code is allocated to the OS and use the remaining space for data. For example, the user can choose the following partitioning:

a) 64 KB for OS (typically GSM phase 2+ with WIB1.2) and 112 KB for data,

b) 104 KB for OS (typically GSM phase 2+ with WIB1.3) and 72 KB for data,

c) 64 KB for OS, 64 KB for data and remaining 48 KB for java applets.

Thus, with the same chip, the service provider can target several applications.

"With flexible memory partitioning between code and data, the software and the personalization can be done at the very last stage of the production phase, at the smart card manufacturer facility," explains Mougahed Darwish, president of the management board of EM Microelectronic. "This helps the smart card manufacturers and the service providers to reduce their intermediate stocks and to speed up their time to market, saving cost and increasing competitiveness. It means that one card design can be used for a wide variety of applications, and inventories of cards can be quickly personalized at low cost to meet market demands."

Secure, high-performance 8051 core

The EMTCG176-3G features an enhanced 8051 microcontroller core compatible with industry standards and implemented in hardware, allowing it to process instructions four times faster per clock cycle than typical microcode-based 8051 core designs. An internal tamper-proof clock operates at up to 30 MHz and provides better security than designs that require an external clock. Security is also enhanced by the EMTCG176-3G's built-in analog, triple hardware DES encryption algorithms, hardware-protected memory partitioning and tamper notification.

Flexible flash-based memory architecture

Most smart card ICs rely on a combination of ROM and EEPROM. In these smart cards, the operating system (OS) and main applications are permanently stored once in the ROM where they cannot be modified. Data, personal information and other applications data are stored in the EEPROM so that they can be modified. Since the ROM portion can only be programmed once, it is typically filled with as many applications as possible, leaving less memory space available for variable user data, program updates and new features. Unlike these smart cards, the EMTCG176-3G has a memory architecture that is 100% re-programmable. This provides more flexibility for the manufacturer, dealer or end user to reconfigure the operating system and applications.

The EMTCG176-3G's flash memory is partitioned into two sections: 128 KB of General Purpose NVM organized in blocks of 512B, and 48 KB of EEPROM. Both General Purpose NVM and EEPROM are guaranteed with 100k cycles minimum. The 128 KB General Purpose NVM partition provides hardware-secured, tamper-proof storage for program and data information. Memory dedicated to application software and user data can be configured at the last minute, so smart card providers can reduce inventory, simplify logistics, reduce costs and accelerate time-to-market. The EMTCG176-3G's flexible memory architecture enables low cost Java-based smart cards to interoperate with equipment from different service providers and regional standards, making them ideal for communications in developing countries worldwide. EMTCG176-3G flash memory is using SST SuperFlash technology.

Development Support

The 8051 microcontroller core is a proven, robust and widely supported architecture, allowing code re-usability and faster development. The EMTCG176-3G is supported by development tools including a Compiler, Link Editor, OTP and EEPROM Download, and Emulation platform that is fully integrated with the Keil uVision2 development environment.


The EMTCG176-3G smart card IC is available and shipping now from EM Microelectronic and its authorized distributors. It is available as back-lapped and de-stressed 8-inch wafers down to 180 micrometer thickness, as sawn wafers on frame, and in packaged module form.

More information about the new EMTCG176-3G smart card module is available at

About EM Microelectronic

EM Microelectronic is a semiconductor manufacturer that designs and produces ultra-low-power, low-voltage, digital, analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits for battery-operated and field-powered devices in consumer, automotive and industrial applications. The company's product portfolio includes RFID circuits, ultra-low-power microcontrollers, voltage reset IC and microcontroller supervisory IC supervisor, watchdog, regulator, smart card ICs, LCD drivers and displays, sensor and optoelectronic ICs, mixed analog and digital gate arrays and application-specific integrated circuits. EM also produces LCD modules and offers bumping services.

EM Microelectronic is one of the electronic systems companies within the Swatch Group, developing and producing ultra-low power, miniaturized and accurate microelectronic components and systems. Additional company and product information is available at

Product datasheet for the product is available at

Please send business inquiries to:

United States: Marketing Communications Department, EM Microelectronic-US, 5475 Mark Dabling Blvd. Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, or [email protected].

Europe and Asia: EM Microelectronic, Rue des Sors 3, CH-2074 Marin, Switzerland, Ph: +41. (0)32.755 51 11, Fax: +41.(0)32.755 54 03; or [email protected].

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