What is iSIM & How is it Making Phones Smarter & Secure?
Vodafone, Qualcomm Technologies and Thales have teamed up to introduce a new type of SIM called iSIM Technology that allows the functionality of a SIM card to be integrated into your device’s main processor.
Dominating the world in the palm of your hands, Smartphones are mankind’s second-biggest revolution after the introduction of the internet and computer that have embedded themselves in everyone’s life.
Offering a lot of convenience with life-saving features, smartphones enable us to make calls, access the internet, play music and do a lot more than needed.
And since every smartphone requires cellular network access to operate, SIM Cards are one of the most basic requirements of every device as they are offered by multiple Telecom Companies.
Talking about SIM cards in general, there hasn’t been much of an exaggerated evolution in terms of these cards. The physical SIM cards, so far are either micro-sized or are eSIMs, the latest version in some selected phones.
If you want to know more details about what is eSIM and how does it work, you can check out my previous article,” Adoption of eSIM in Indian Market”.
With the boom of smart devices and integration of the Internet of Things (IoT), miniaturization along with high demands of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT are posing a difficult task for the smartphone designers as smaller devices require even smaller components and a SIM takes some space.
To resolve the issue, Vodafone, Qualcomm Technologies and Thales have teamed up to introduce a new type of SIM called iSIM Technology that allows the functionality of a SIM card to be integrated into your device’s main processor.
This integration allows higher performance, less space consumption and increased memory capacity.
Before starting about the differences between iSIM and eSIM along with the numerous benefits of iSIM Technology, let’s explore what is iSIM Technology all about.
Defining iSIM Technology
Introduced as a concept in 2020, the iSIM Technology also popularly called Integrated Sim, mainly refers to a technology wherein the SIM module would be integrated along with the SoC or processor of the smartphone and therefore do not require a separate slot like a physical SIM card.
In simple terms, along with embedding CPU, GPU, LTE and even 5G modem in the SoC, the SIM module is also getting merged with the SoC.
iSIM Technology is actually like an eSIM in many aspects and is called the evolution of eSIM, which is currently available in various smartphones like the iPhone 13 series, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series and even in Pixel phones.
iSIM Vs eSIM
While iSIM Technology and eSIM match the functionalities they offer, they differ on several aspects too.
An eSIM is a dedicated chip embedded into a gadget’s processor while the iSIM is integrated into the main SoC along with the processor.
Another reason for this iSIM Technology superiority comes with its compliance with the GSMA specifications such that it offers higher performance.
Apart from less space consumption, iSIM allows an increase in memory capacity of smartphones with iSIM Technology, thus making it stand out from the eSIM one.
Like eSIM, iSIM Technology also provides a secure vault for storing and saving mobile subscription details into a trustful digital format.
What Differentiates iSIM Technology from Others?
Qualcomm and Thales have recently showcased a concept demonstration of how iSIM Technology will work as it is integrated into the processor itself.
The device used for this demo was Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G that was powered by Snapdragon 888 5G processor which was running the Thales iSIM operating system.
And the demo took place in Samsung’s R&D labs while leveraging Vodafone’s remote management platform.
Though iSIM and eSIM both represent virtual SIMs, the latter needs a separate chip to function, therefore, taking up a little more space than an iSIM.
Since space constraints have always been a part of every designer’s worry for devices like smartphones, smartwatches and other wearable devices, an iSIM would go a long way in making it easier to add other features without increasing the complexity and bulk of the device.
Perks of iSIM
Though we have already talked about some major advantages of iSIM Technology as discussed above, here are some key perks that can’t be ignored that include,
- It simplifies the design structure.
- It allows the hosting of multiple subscriptions on a single SIM.
- Also allows Telcos to provide remote SIM provisioning services.
- Expands the scope of integrating SIM functions in other smart gadgets including the IoTs.
As the integration of IoT, AI and cloud are treading towards a grand integration, the introduction of iSIM Technology gives out new hope for a smart world.
Counting the best part of eSIM and iSIM where they both are heavily customizable, we are heading towards a smart world of sleek and smaller size smartphones where people will have a range of features to choose from.