Smart cards, credit-card-size pieces of plastic incorporating a silicon chip, comprise the highest volume computing platform. Roughly 2 billion are currently in use worldwide and that number is expected to double by 2005. Smart cards are used in everything from cell phones, payment systems, banking and building access, to driving licenses, passports, and set-top boxes. Technology is enabling an enormous number of new applications, and the highest market growth is expected to be in 32-bit smart cards. The top five smart card semiconductor vendors have now launched 32-bit smart card ICs that, by 2003, will begin to make a major impact in the capabilities of smart card systems. This article discusses the current status of smart cards within their various market segments and the technology trends that are driving new solutions.