There are a few different types of Smart Cards, here are the types my old Dell 6420 supports:
- Type "A" : ISO14443A — 106 kbps, 212 kbps, 424 kbps, and 848 kbps
- Type "B" : ISO14443B — 106 kbps, 212 kbps, 424 kbps, and 848 kbps
- HID iClass
- ISO15693 (Proximity card)
- FIPS201 see also NXP Fire
What are you going to use the Smartcard for? Signatures, Encryption, or Authentication? Will the smart card be part of a Common Access Control (CAC) solution?
If you're using it for Authentication know that it's very difficult to get it to work across multiple platforms. For example, pretend you want to integrate Windows, iPads, Snow Leopard and Linux. Currently integration of a unified Smart Card authentication is impossible without relying on 3rd party software. As of Jan 2011, Apple's Federal Engineering Management suggest not using out of the box OSX support for Smartcards.
Thursby's PKard for iOS software extends CAC support to Apple iPads and iPhones
Coolkey is a LDAP server that provides smart card login, single sign-on, secure messaging, and secure email access.
Here is a ton of information on how to set up a PKI and ROOT CA that allows for smartcard use.
Also this document describes the Homeland Security HSPD-12 smart card security standard and related Active Directory configuration.
Lastly, SmartCard deployment is much more than the technology involved. I suggest also learning about the processes of securely provisioning them.
Microsoft has a Solution Accelerator for Secure Access using Smart Cards available here that includes technical solutions, hypothetical scenarios and technical requirements on how this can be done.