Sun Debuts Java Card 3.0

Sun Microsystems and the Java Card Forum have released version 3.0 of the Java Card smartcard specification.

Java Card is a platform for running small Java programs on smart cards and other devices with a very small amount of memory. It runs the Java Card Virtual Machine, a runtime engine for applications.

Java Card has been installed on more than 1.2 billion cards wordwide, according to Sun. For example, the Defense Department uses the platform for its Common Access Cards.

Version 3.0 comes in two editions. One is the Classic Edition, which extends the features and performance of the last major version, version 2.2.2. The Classic Edition is intended for objects with extremely limited memory, such as credit cards or cell phone Subscriber Identity Modules.

The other version, called the Connected Edition, acts as a miniature application server. This edition features an entirely new version of the virtual machine -- one that can make use of standard Web development tools, such as the Java Servlet Application Programming Interface.

"This [edition] makes the Java Card platform a Web execution engine, capable of serving up applications and content securely from within nearly any device," Eric Klein, Sun vice president of marketing, said in a statement. Both editions can run applications written for previous versions of the specification.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the chief technology editor of Government Computing News (