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

    MINDEN, Germany, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.
    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 or

    CONTACT:  Wolfgang Salge of ZeitControl, +49 (0) 571-50522-0, or fax,
+49 (0) 571-50522-99, or E-Mail,

SOURCE ZeitControl cardsystems GmbH
Web Site:

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