Sun Microsystems Inc. says it will receive aid from credit card company Visa International Inc. in developing a smart-card microprocessor core based on the Java operating environment.
Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly develop cards based on Sun's Java Card specification. Visa expects to introduce Java Cards in the middle of this year, the companies said. Other details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Smart cards are similar in appearance to credit cards, but contain a computer chip that allows them to store information about things like bank accounts, frequent flyer miles or cash.
Sun said it is trying to promote its Java Card as an industry standard that would offer a range of businesses from banks to healthcare providers a single smart-card platform. The Java Card also offers compatibility with existing cards and card readers, the company said.
Last October the company released an application programming interface for Java Cards called Java Card 2.0, and it has existing agreements with both card and semiconductor suppliers, including Siemens Semiconductors, Gemplus SA and Schlumberger SA.
The Java Card API is available for downloading at http://java.sun.com/products/javacard/. Sun, based in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-415-960-1300 or via the Internet at http://www.sun.com/.