PCMCIA has introduced the next-generation ExpressCard technology, Standard 2.0, which is claimed to support transfer rates ten times faster than the current Standard 1.2 protocol utilized in a wide range of notebooks. Devices that could potentially benefit from the increased speed include eSATA adapters for external hard drives, streaming media and video adapters, or high-performance storage modules such as SSDs.
The new protocol will support the latest PCI Express and USB 3.0 specifications, with transfer rates up to 5Gb/s. The technology is backwards-compatible with earlier products and does not diverge from the existing ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54 module sizes. Standard 2.0 still retains plug-and-play compatibility, hot-swap abilities and support for Mac, Windows and Linux systems.
PCMCIA claims the adoption rates for its technology are increasing faster than projected. Several manufacturers, however, have eliminated ExpressCard ports from notebook models. Apple's new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros provide an SD card slot, USB ports and FireWire connections instead.
ExpressCard Standard 2.0 is now available, with products expected in 2010.