Sun Microsystems has released the finalised version of its Java Card (API), the blueprint on which Java applications can be built for smartcards.
Called Java Card 2.0, the API enables card manufacturers to build smartcards that can interoperate with each other and with existing cards and card-reading terminals, Sun officials say.
Smartcards are similar in appearance to credit cards, but contain a computer chip which allows them to store information about things like bank accounts and medical records, or small quantities of cash that can be used to make purchases on the Internet.
Sun announced the Java Card API in October last year. Since then it claims to have licensed the technology to companies representing 90% of worldwide smartcard manufacturing capacity.
A number of Sun's Java Card partners have already introduced applications and products based on Java Card 2.0 on October 16 at the Cartes '97 trade show in Paris.
The API is available for download now at http://java.sun.com/products/javacard/.