ETSI, short for the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, has decided on the next-generation SIM card, also known as the nano-SIM card. The fourth form factor, or 4FF, design will be 40% smaller than the current micro-SIM version, and it should help smartphone and tablet makers reduce the size of SIM trays in future devices and find a different use for the freed space.
The 4FF SIM card will measure 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.67 mm, will be backwards compatible with current SIM card models and it will offer the same functionality. While ETSI did not confirm that the design chosen was the one proposed by Apple and contested by various players in the mobile business such as Nokia, Motorola and RIM – these companies have proposed their own nano-SIM design – it appears that it was Apple’s model that was finally chosen by the European regulator. PC World reports that representatives of card maker Giesecke & Devrient have identified Apple’s design as being the winning proposition.
ETSI did say that the new standard was adopted “with the involvement of major mobile network operators, smart card suppliers and mobile device manufacturers.” The new design will soon be published on the institution’s website, but we have no idea at this time what the first Android smart devices coming with nano-SIM compatibility will be. Naturally, Apple’s future iOS devices will probably support 4FF SIM cards, although it may be too late for this year’s iPhone to pack a nano-SIM tray instead of the same micro-SIM tray that’s currently used in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models.