back to article Gemalto glues DVD onto a SIM

Gemalto has started embedding a tiny DVD into the plastic card holding a new SIM chip, enabling Italy's Wind service to bundle 50MB of connection software and manuals in the same envelope as the SIM. It's not the first time a CD, or DVD, has been squeezed to credit-card size, but being one of the world's largest SIM vendors …


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  1. John

    slot load systems

    I don't think I'll try sliding it into my MacBook

  2. Sooty

    don't know about you

    but i'd be a little dubious about putting something that wasn't perfectly circular and balanced into my expensive dvd drive and spinning it very fast!

    How long before the first claims come in for destrotyed dvd players because someone didn't take the sim out first and it came out in the drive.

  3. David Gosnell


    I can see the SIM portion is meant to be completely snapped off at the perforations, but how many people will try and put the whole thing in a drive and (if it physically) fits, probably knacker one, the other or both? Non-circular media are not recommended by any manufacturers AFAIK, let alone unbalanced non-circular media.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    "another gimmick dressed up as a revolution"

    "another gimmick dressed up as a revolution" that pun was intentional, right?

    DVDs, revolution... yes, we get it.

  5. Jiminy Krikett
    Thumb Up



  6. Andrew Moore


    That doesn't look like it would spin too well in a DVD drive.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You've got to be kidding me

    I'm not putting that garbage in my drive. Also, aren't downloads greener still?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So much for anybody with a slot-loading dvd drive.

  9. Ross Ryles


    I was much more impressed by the people who squeezed a GPS receiver into a SIM card a while back.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Someone's been at the FAIL again.


    1) You recognise that none of your customers require the old "full fat" SIM format, in which case you should just ditch the spurious placcy and ship the relevant bit along with a conventional driver disc that can be stored easily with all the customer's other discs.


    2) You recognise that some of your customers do require the old "full fat" SIM format, in which case they can't break the DVD bit off this thing and install the drivers.

    I'll bet there was some whalesong involved in this idea.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    ummm great, but how the f#@k do you play it?

    Do you put the whole card in the drive?

  12. Aaron

    Environmentally Friendly?

    I wonder how many expired DVD drives will make it into the bin and then to landfill? Just wait for the stream of people inserting the whole card, SIM section still attached, in their DVD drives and watching the ensuing explosion as the off centre spin causes the card to fly apart.

  13. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Boring

    The GPS-on-a-SIM was indeed impressive, and would have been even more so if they had ever managed to demonstrate it. We chase up the company responsible - BlueSky - every now and then, and each time they promise us the technology will be demonstrable real soon now, but we're still waiting.

    The most innovative SIM recently is probably the one being deployed by the True Group, who got round the antenna problem with a sticker on the outside of the battery and a very thin wire wrapped round it.

    Receiving any kind of signal when you're sandwiched between a battery and a circuit board is really tough, and BlueSky has yet to prove they can, though we'll keep you informed.


  14. bluesxman
    Thumb Down


    ... why the hell is the SIM card still so freaking big? Backwards compatibility?

    The last time I remember seeing a phone that was designed to take the credit card sized SIM card was circa 1995 -- why haven't they discarded the "chunk of plastic that is normally discarded" themselves at source?

  15. Thomas Bottrill
    Jobs Horns


    I don't know why, but I'd guess that, since Gemalto also make credit cards, it could be cheaper for them to do it this way.

  16. Neil Daniels

    Title is required

    I think an old-fashioned "large" sim shares the same form factor as a chip-and-pin smartcard, which would explain why they keep the superfluous plastic - easier to stick in a reader/writer

  17. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Down

    utter crap

    This does not work in slot-in drives.

    This likely will not work well in tray-based drives.

    The off-center load will not be beneficial to the drives it will actually work well in, namely those with with accessible spindles.

    All the trouble for 50 megs? What? If they want more use and eco-friendliness for those trays, they should just make them thinner so the good people of Milan can employ is as handy coke-scrapers.

  18. Nigel

    A neater fully-recyclable idea

    A nice idea, but I fear many DVD drives will choke on it and a few will be damaged.

    A better idea. Mould one of those micro USB flash drive "chips" next to the SIM and load it with the manuals. Assuming that the smallest flash chip these days is half a gig, that's a useful freebie for the user: about 450Mb of free space to use as he desires as well as the manuals and software kit.

  19. Frumious Bandersnatch

    a better idea

    PC magazine producers (the ones with disks on the front covers) could take note of the green wave and replace their read-only media with re-writeable media. Granted, margins are no doubt tight in most print publications, so for this idea to be a goer we'd either have to have differential taxing on the blank media (tax the WORMs more than the re-usable media) or the mag would have to parlay the green goodwill into a premium for advertisers and/or readers to pay. To encourage readers to actually erase the discs, I imagine a piece of software to copy the CD to disk and manage the library from there could be included so users know it's safe to nuke old CDs and re-use them. This library management system could also take care to only archive one copy of repeatedly-occurring content to cut down on disk space. The system might need some safeguards to prevent someone modifying the disk before it reaches the user, but a simple system that asks the internet for an MD5/SHA checksum of a random sampling of disk areas along with a full-disk/package-by-package check would probably suffice.

    Oh, and the differential taxing mightn't be a bad idea to kill all those "free" CDs that advertisers slip between the covers, which invariably end up being tossed without ever seeing the inside of a CD drive. (*cough* AOL *cough*)

    Tux, because you can have this idea for free.

  20. Scott Earle

    Why do they still use the large bit of plastic?

    I have not seen any piece of tech that requires the larger 'credit card'-sized SIM card for well over a decade now. If there are SIM readers out there that require it, isn't it high time they were replaced with newer ones, for the sake of the millions (billions?) of other pieces of equipment on whose behalf the much larger extra plastic is simply discarded?

    What's green about using that plastic for something of dubious benefit, when it should not be there in the first place?

    And when will people stop riding on the 'green' bandwagon just to try to sell a crap idea?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    re: expensive DVD player

    who has expensive DVD's players/recorders in their computers now :s

    The DVD bit is also a press out - so probably will be balanced (assuming you can work out that bit and not put the whole car in)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    green fail

    "making use of a chunk of plastic that is normally discarded"... How about not manufacturing the chunk of plastic in the first place, or using cardboard?

  23. James Henstridge

    @Bad Beaver

    By the look of it, the idea is to break off the end of the card containing the SIM, leaving you with a square chunk of plastic that should be fairly well balanced. For a tray-style DVD drive, this should fit snugly in the inner "mini CD" sized indent. You are right about the problems with slot loading drives though.

  24. Andus McCoatover

    @David Gosnell et. al.

    <<I can see the SIM portion is meant to be completely snapped off at the perforations, but how many people will try and put the whole thing in a drive>>

    Same twats who'd use the DVD tray as a coffee-cup holder......

    Personally, I think it's a great idea. Now, if they'd done it with DVD R/W technology....Yessss!

  25. Richard

    Why use huge plastic in the first place?

    I really don't see the reason for such a huge piece of plastic anymore anyway.

    Originally, the credit-card sized plastic with punch-out SIM was introduced for backwards compatibility. Some really old phones that used that Anna-Logg system took credit-card sized SIMs. When the chip got down to its current size, it was morphed into its current form to be compatible with both old phones and the newer mini-SIM cards.

    Since there are little to none analogue services still in operation, I can't see why the still bother manufacturing such a huge lump of plastic.

    -- Richard

  26. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Eco friendly ?

    Sorry, but any company who's main product is a chunk of plastic is off the green list for me.

  27. Alex


    The idea of a credit card disk isn't new, and bare in mind that sim section is a snap off, and no, you don't put the whole card in.

    no fears about what it would do to a conventional dvd drive, but as yet, I have not had the cahones to place one of these babies in a slot drive.... any other drives are fine.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The second you put the card in the phone, connect the phone to the PC, ask if the user wants the PDF manuals downloaded now? Almost every gadget I have bought lately has done this, my latest Garmin SATNAV, my Archos media box.

    Green and saves on the amount of plastic being used and over hundreds of thousands of cards would be a saving, unlike this crap idea!

  29. andy gibson

    @Frumious Bandersnatch

    Your comment about erasable magazine discs reminded me of my dad who pinched a stack of AOL CDs from the supermarket because he thought he could 'blank them' and use them again.

  30. Mathew White

    umm..... slot-loading

    How soon until there is the standard slot loading dvd drive debacle?

  31. David Cornes
    Thumb Down

    Fucked with any PC with vertical drives

    ... like mine.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I had such a phone until 2007. It occasionally got put in the car for long journeys when being stranded would be a bad thing. Over and above that I still mostly can't be bothered carrying even the new smaller one. Who wants to risk receiving bad news or more work 24x7? Really?

  33. Steve Foster

    DVD on SIM...

    So now I'll be able to buy a swanky new phone that can play BluRay content, eh?

  34. Andrew Woodvine

    Analogue systems

    @Richard really old phones that used analogue did not use credit card sized SIMs - both sizes of SIM are only used with digital networks.

    Phones on the old analogue networks did not use SIM cards.

  35. A J Stiles


    From the picture, if the left-hand portion containing the SIM is removed then the remainder is square in proportion and therefore balanced.

    Moments of inertia are funny things, which is why real engineers usually get a technician to spin things around and see if they fly apart rather than doing reams of painful maths (and anyway, it's much more entertaining). Equal weights at 12, 3, 4, 8 and 9 o'clock would be *dynamically* balanced, even although they obviously aren't *statically* balanced.

    None of which changes the fact that it's a stupid gimmick. As, come to think of it, are penny-in-the-slot optical drives. At least with a traditional tray-loader, you don't have to wear gloves in order not to get fingerprints on the working surface of the disc .....

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