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A closer look at Willcom's W-SIM

Liam McNulty
Willcom W-SIM

We mentioned Sharp's W-ZERO3 for Japanese mobile provider Willcom the other day, and briefly mentioned W-SIM. Though the W-ZERO3 may not exactly be something to sneeze at, you'll probably need a whole box of tissues for W-SIM. Take a PCMCIA card for cellular data transfer — hardware, antenna, and all — shrink it down to the size of a SIM card, and there's the W-SIM. It is a complete cellular package (modularized PHS, technically), and Willcom says it's the smallest in the world at 25.6 x 42.0 x 4mm (1 x 1.65 x 0.15-inch). The 600KB of memory will allow for roughly 700 phone book entries. Such a small and all-inclusive package makes integrating cellular communications into all sorts of products a breeze. As a result, drastically reduced development costs enable companies with no cellphone know-how make mobile magic happen; sitting in on the "W-SIM Forum" are 50 other companies, and plenty of big names: Casio, Kyocera, Sanyo, Toshiba, Tomy, IBM Japan, Bandai, Fujitsu, Microsoft, and even Apple. Ruh roh.

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