Qualcomm's new iSIM tech could bring better connectivity options to wearables, laptops, tablets and IoT devices

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Qualcomm's new iSIM tech could bring better connectivity options to wearables, laptops, tablets and IoT devices
You could soon say goodbye to physical SIM cardsUnsplash
  • Smartphone chip maker Qualcomm has teamed up with Vodafone and France’s Thales to develop a new technology called iSIM.
  • iSIM would allow companies to make more efficient use of the space inside devices like smartphones, smartwatches, virtual reality headsets and more.
  • Qualcomm demonstrated a proof of concept using the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 on Vodafone’s network.
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Chipmaker Qualcomm has collaborated with Vodafone and France-based Thales to announce a new technology called iSIM, as it looks to make more effective use of the limited space available inside smartphones, wearables and other modern gadgets.

iSIM is an evolution of eSIM, which is currently available in several smartphones like the iPhone 13 series, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series, and Pixel phones, among others.

To demonstrate its use, Qualcomm and its partners tested a proof of concept unit of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 on Vodafone’s network, showing that this feature can work on existing telecom infrastructure as well.

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While the primary advantage is that this will save space inside devices like smartphones, wearables, virtual reality headsets, laptops and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it also lets carriers remotely provision SIM cards using the existing eSIM infrastructure.

How does iSIM work?



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According to Qualcomm, iSIM is integrated into the processor itself, so there’s no need for an extra SIM card slot or the eSIM, which is integrated into the phone’s motherboard.

Qualcomm's new iSIM tech could bring better connectivity options to wearables, laptops, tablets and IoT devices
iSIM vs eSIM vs SIM cardQualcomm

This, Qualcomm says, allows for better performance, better system integration and increased memory capacity, likely referring to the highly limited capacity in a traditional SIM card.

Additionally, while iSIM and eSIM are both virtual SIMs, the latter required a separate chip to function, taking up a little more space that an iSIM.

With space being extremely limited in devices like smartphones, smartwatches and other wearable devices and virtual reality headsets, an iSIM would go a long way in making it easier to add other features without bulking up the device.

“Some of the areas that will benefit most from iSIM technology include smartphones, mobile PCs, VR/XR headsets, and industrial IoT,” said Qualcomm’s senior vice president, Enrico Salvatori.
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