SIM cards may soon operate more than just your phone. The GSM Association, a group that oversees the GSM phone network technology announced that it is assigning a task force to adapt SIM cards for use in a variety of mobile devices, reports CNET. AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and China Mobile have joined forces to expand the role of the SIM. SIM cards are small rectangular chips about the size of a thumb nail that store a user’s phone number and allow access to cell phone networks.
Currently, only mobile phones and a few tablets and netbooks utilize SIM cards to access 3G networks, but the GSM Association would like to expand that to electronics of all kinds. Camcorders, cameras, MP3 players, GPS navigators, handheld video game systems, and other focused devices could benefit from an always available data connection via SIM, says the association.
“As our industry moves from connecting phones to connecting a wide range of devices, it is apparent that the embedded SIM could deliver even greater flexibility,” said Rob Conway, GSMA chief executive.
SIM cards have battery life on their side as well. Mobile network data uses significantly less battery power than alternatives like Wi-Fi, and has the benefit of being available at any time. If a user with a GSM-powered camera wanted to send pictures to their home computer, or a friend, it could be done with a click of a button instead of a lot of cords or spending a while connecting to a home network or via Bluetooth. Near-field communication technology, said to be the next big thing in spending since the credit card, is also made easier with a data connection a SIM could provide. That is, if someone really wants to pay for gas using an iPod.
The only problem with this plan is potential cost to consumers. It is fantastic if a camera can auto-connect and send pictures from anywhere, but less fun if that functionality comes at the cost of a monthly data subscription.