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ZeitControl's BasicCard Offers Users An Inexpensive, Easy-To-Program Smart Card That Is Available Today

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02/24/99 -- MINDEN, GERMANY -- ZeitControl cardsystems, developer of the world's first smart card that can be programmed in BASIC, will be expanding its innovative product line in 1999 to meet competitive challenges in the chip card marketplace.  Microsoft Corp., for example, recently announced plans to develop a BASIC programmable smart card for its Windows(R) operating system.  However information on delivery dates and card costs is scant at this point.

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According to Wolfgang Salge, managing director for ZeitControl, his company's unique BasicCard is not only available now, but offers a highly cost-effective smart card application development solution for non-experts in the field.  "Using our proven platform, BASIC programmers can custom design their own smart card in a single afternoon, with no previous experience required," Salge explains.  "The entire development cycle of writing code, downloading and testing takes hours instead of weeks."

Salge additionally points out the most important difference between ZeitControl's BasicCard and a Java or MultOS card: the price.  These two programming alternatives require larger chips to operate, therefore increasing the card's ultimate price tag.   Java and MultOS cards currently run between $10 and $15 per unit, compared to a BasicCard which costs $2 to $5.

The BasicCard is available in two versions:  the Compact BasicCard and the Enhanced BasicCard.  Both versions contain 256 bytes of RAM, plus user- programmable EEPROM: 1 kilobyte in the Compact BasicCard, and 8 kilobytes in the Enhanced BasicCard.  The EEPROM contains the user's ZC-Basic code, compiled into a virtual machine language known as P-Code (the Java programming language uses the same technology).  In order to create P-Code and download it to the BasicCard, a user needs ZeitControl's support software.  This development tool is free of charge and can be downloaded at any time from the company's Internet page.

ZeitControl, in partnership with Philips Semiconductor, is now developing a Mifare Pro BasicCard (contact and contactless in one chip).  The first sample cards are expected to become available by the middle of this year. Future products in their early planning stages include an RSA-based Public-Key BasicCard as well as a Multi-Application BasicCard.

ZeitControl cardsystems GmbH, headquartered in Minden, Germany, is a pioneer in the development of BASIC-programmable smart cards.  Founded in 1990, the company has delivered more than 5 million cards to customers around the world.  For more information on ZeitControl and its BasicCard, visit the company's Web Site at http://www.basiccard.com or http://www.zeitcontrol.com See ZeitControl in may in chicago on CT/ST show.
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