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The New PCMCIA Standard

The New PCMCIA Standard

Contributing editor Mark Scardina and I attended a PCMCIA conference several months ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. PCMCIA is a nonprofit group that sets standards for RAM cards and other devices that fit in the 95LX slot. Fortunately for the industry, Hewlett Packard and other progressive vendors realized several years back that standards were necessary if these cards were to ever catch on. In the next few years, you will see an increasingly number of computer and consumer-based products that use the PCMCIA standards.

The HP 95LX conforms to PCMCIA level 1 standard. Recently, specifications for level 2 PCMCIA compatibility were published.

This standard will make it possible to not only to include RAM memory cards, ROM cards, and other memory cards in devices sporting a slot, but will also allow the development of devices (FAX, Modems, Scanners, and Wireless devices) that will fit in a PCMCIA defined slot.

Speakers at the conference were very excited and optimistic about the future of this card-based technology. For example, in the future you'll be able to take your PCMCIA card out of your Palmtop, stick it in a public phone, automatically dial a number which connects you to a computer, and have the data you need put on that card. You then can make use of the updated data in your Palmtop. Or you might be able to go to an ATM machine, stick in your PCMCIA card, withdraw your money, and have a data file updated that you can access in your Palmtop about your current balance. The possibilities are really endless.

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