Introduction to the ExpressCard standard
ExpressCards - what's it all about?
Expresscard is the new generation of PC-Card (PCMCIA cards). They are faster, smaller and more simple to make than the older PC Cards. Expresscard support both USB 2.0 and PCI Express interfaces.
Just like the PC Cards, ExpressCard modules can hold communication (networking) devices, multimedia, memory, smart card readers and more. There are already quite a bit of ExpressCard module available in the market today, and laptops and desktop are beginning to support this new standard.
How fast is it?
ExpressCard used over PCI Express will sport a cool 250Mbps. The old PC Cards can only go to 125Mbps. USB 2.0 reaches 60Mbps or so.
Where can I find a list of ExpressCard modules?
The official ExpressCard web site has a list of available modules.
Can I use an ExpressCard module in my computer?
ExpressCard modules are not compatiable with PC Cards, so if your computer does not support them, you're out of luck. In the future maybe we'll see USB-to-ExpressCard adaptors, but currently none are available.
What's the size of these things?
ExpressCard modules actually come in two sizes (54mm x 75mm, 34mm x 75mm). Here's a short drawing (from www.expresscard.org) that shows (From left to right) an old PC Card, an ExpressCard/54 and an ExpressCard/34: