German tech powerhouse Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) announced today the world's smallest SIM card, called the ... Nano-SIM, which is a third smaller than the current microSIM card and which is likely to land in a smartphone near you sooner rather than later.
G&D - the same company that produced the first SIM card back in 1991 - says that the first mobile devices to get the SIM could come to the market as early as next year. At 12mm x 9mm, it could fit on the little finger-nail of an average person; a normal Mini-SIM card is 25mm x 15mm.
The firm has also managed to cut the thickness of the card from 0.76mm to 0.65mm, a 15 per cent decrease, which it describes as a "tremendous technical challenge".
A smaller card means that less space needs to be allocated for the SIM slot and its reader. The Nano-SIM format is expected to be implemented by the end of the year with backward compatibility with older handsets made possible through an adaptor.
The chances are though that future smartphones will not have any removable SIM cards at all, instead relying on a fixed hardware module that can be modified remotely by the mobile phone operator.