PC Card makers plan smaller, faster card

PCMCIA, the group behind PC Cards, is working on a new specification for smaller, faster and cheaper expansion cards, it announced last week.

The specification is slated for release later this year and the first products supporting it should be out in the second half of 2004, PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) said in a statement released at Intel Corp.'s Spring Developer Forum in San Jose, California.

The expansion card, code-named Newcard, is meant for both desktop and mobile computers, so users can buy one card and use it in both systems. For notebooks in particular, the smaller card will allow sleeker computer designs, PCMCIA said.

Backers of the specification include computer makers Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., software vendor Microsoft Corp., memory specialist Lexar Media Inc. and chip giant Intel. All are PCMCIA members.

Also working on the new specification with PCMCIA are the USB (Universal Serial Bus) Implementers Forum and the PCI-SIG (Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group.) The specification will support the USB 2.0 and PCI Express serial I/O (input/output) technologies. It is the first time that the three industry organizations have teamed up to create and promote a specification.

PC Cards today are mostly used on portable computers. Popular applications for the credit card-sized cards are WLAN (wireless LAN) adaptors, wireless modems and memory card readers.

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