ExpressCard 2.0 specification nears finalization

Chris Davies - Nov 17, 2008, 11:09am CST
ExpressCard 2.0 specification nears finalization

It’s not only USB 3.0 that has reached a milestone today; ExpressCard too has notched up another specification, taking it to 2.0.  Based on PCI Express 2.0 and USB 3.0 specifications, ExpressCard 2.0 will support data transfers from between two and ten times faster than the current version.  That can be used in anything from SATA 2 drive attachment, to ExpressCard flash-memory expansion.

As with USB 3.0, ExpressCard 2.0 slots will be backward compatible with cards based on the existing v1.2 specification.  Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Lexar Media, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Sony, Texas Instruments and Toshiba are all planning to support 2.0.

ExpressCard 2.0 is due to be finalized and released in early 2009.  Products based on the standard should hit shelves in 2010, the same as USB 3.0.

Press Release:

PCMCIA Announces Release 2.0 of ExpressCard®

Latest Release Offers Improved Transfer Rates Based
on New PCI Express® 2.0 and USB 3.0 Specifications

San Jose, CALIF, (Nov. 17, 2008) — PCMCIA, the leading
technology trade association for PC Card(TM) and
ExpressCard® technology, today announced the newest
release of the ExpressCard Standard 2.0. This version
has been significantly updated to accommodate the
faster speeds increasingly demanded by today’s
high-performance mobile technologies.

ExpressCard technology ( is the
next-generation PC Card technology for
high-performance expansion of desktop and mobile
systems. ExpressCard and PC Card slots can be found
in more than 95 percent of notebook computers.
“ExpressCard technology is closely tied to the PCI
Express® and USB specifications, and the 2.0 release
of our standard takes full advantage of recent
advancements in both interface technologies,” said Brad
Saunders, chairman, PCMCIA. “Now that the new
SuperSpeed USB specification is ready, PCMCIA can
move forward to finalize the ExpressCard 2.0 release
and make it available to members in early 2009.
Consumers can expect to see new, innovative products
that take advantage of the enhancements offered by
the ExpressCard 2.0 Standard starting in 2010.”

“SuperSpeed USB brings a whole new level of
performance enhancements that will drive the next
generation of consumer electronics,” said Jeff
Ravencraft, USB-IF president and chairman. “Having
SuperSpeed USB support in the latest ExpressCard
Standard gives developers an additional form factor to
take advantage of these new features. ExpressCard
technology is a natural extension of USB.”
The new ExpressCard Standard will support transfer
rates ranging from two to 10 times faster than
ExpressCard Standard 1.2, depending on the data
protocol used. Some of the applications that benefit
from the improved performance are:
•Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) 2.0
adapters supporting large file transfers between
computers and various storage devices;
•USB 3.0 adapters supporting large file transfers
between computers and peripheral devices;
•Very high-performance streaming media and video
adapters; and
•Very high-performance storage modules based on flash
memory technologies, e.g. solid-state drive applications.
The ExpressCard Standard is based on the advanced
serial I/O technologies, PCI Express® and USB. The
Standard is being updated to comply with the recent
release of the PCI Express specification, Version 2.0,
which offers transfer rates of up to 5Gbps, two times
faster than its previous version. The ExpressCard 2.0
Standard also supports the new USB 3.0 specification
released today. SuperSpeed USB will support speeds
of up to 10 times faster than Hi-Speed USB.

The ExpressCard 2.0 Standard supports backward
compatibility with products compliant with any previous
versions of the Standard. Any compliant ExpressCard
product will work in any ExpressCard slot, regardless of
which version of the Standard the product complies
with. A new product compliance and logo program will
be phased in once the ExpressCard 2.0 Standard is

Current ExpressCard “plug ‘n’ play” applications include
memory, local area network (LAN), wireless broadband
(WWAN), WiFi, memory adapters, parallel adapters,
serial adapters, TV tuners, smart card readers,
instrumentation, 1394A&B adapters, serial ATA (SATA)
adapters and USB adapters.

Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Lexar Media,
LG Electronics, Microsoft, Sony, Texas Instruments and
Toshiba are among those supporting development of the
ExpressCard Standard.

PCMCIA ( is a non-profit trade
association founded in 1989 to establish technical
standards for PC Card technology and to promote
interchangeability among computer systems. Already
a feature in almost every notebook and palmtop
computer, PC Card technology empowers users to
configure systems and create unique, integrated
solutions to meet their computing needs. Based in San
Jose, California, the association has a growing
membership of 150 companies worldwide. The PCMCIA
also has a specification development and co-publishing
relationship with the Japan Electronics and Information
Technology Industries Association (JEITA) covering PC
Card and Smart Media technologies.

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