What does advertising say about smart cards?

In a recent blog post, Matt Asay looks at the advertising that Google associates to various products, including open source products. His conclusion is that open source is about productivity, since most advertisements that Google associates with queries on “open source” or on open source product names are related to the efficient use of open source products.

Of course, this is too tempting not to imitate that. I therefore looked for “smart card” and “Java Card”. And the results were not that inspiring

When you search for smart cards, Google offers you … smart cards. Most of the offers on the side are advertisements for USA Smart Card or motechno, or Smart Card Source (my links are free). All these guys sell rather old smart cards at rather steep prices. On the other hand, for people who want to try using cards, this is often the only way to get their hands on actual cards, since it is quite hard to get some from the manufacturers.

This is really a sad situation, and we are kind of hurting ourselves. “How to get cards?” is the most common question that I get on this blog’s “Contact” link. I don’t have a good answer, and by making it hard to get cards, we are mostly hurting our allies. And if somebody worries about bad guys who get cards to attack them, I would tell them not to worry. Real bad guys are able to get the cards they need.

Of course, I would love to be proven wrong. So, if a manufacturer has a way to provide a kit with up-to-date Java Card cards (at least Java Card 2.2.2 with GlobalPlatform 2.1, preferably 2.2, wonderfully, Java Card 3.0), I will gladly provide free advertising. Just leave a comment or contact me.

One Comment

  • You are right. Explanation for such a sad situation is very simple.Major smart card vendors are focused only on volume customers. As this is B2B sector there is no need to invest in promotion over Internet. Also there is a very small market for 3rd party java card developers because there is no straight to distribute such a software.
    Despite that fact we do provide cards in volume of 5-10 cards or more to our real and potential customers ( service providers, application developers, mobile operators, hardware and software vendors) with our (U)SIM card OS or just an applet to do demonstration, field tests etc. Since we are a software developers we outsource the smart card manufacturing to our partners and we deliver the cards to sell our software. As for development tools, there are a number of kits offered by Gemalto and other vendors so I don’t think that it is too difficult to get some sample cards.

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