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ExpressCard Format To Be Discontinued

Sources located in Taiwan's tech manufacturing community have told us that some Tier-1 manufacturers are considering yanking the ExpressCard port on all laptops altogether in an attempt to reduce the sheer thickness of their products and bill of materials as the usage of the standard has been disappointing to say the least.

Major ODM/OEMs have confirmed that continued market research has shown that ExpressCard, which has been available since 2006, has failed to replicate the success of PCMCIA as almost all new laptops now feature onboard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and up to five USB ports.

Data collected over the past two years within the industry shows that less than half a per cent of laptops with an ExpressCard slot are equipped with an ExpressCard device and the (now obsolete) ExpressCard resource directory lists a grand total of 55 ExpressCard modules and 64 ExpressCard components.

Removing the ExpressCard components may save around $5 per laptop, which accounts for less than 2 per cent of the total production cost of one device. More importantly perhaps, it means that future laptops could be even skinnier and that the only external connector remaining will be the SD Card reader.

In addition, the launch of the ExpressCard 2.0 standard back in 2009 at CeBIT failed to ignite any interest despite promises that it could match USB 3 when it comes to raw speed and would be compatible with current ExpressCard modules.

A person close to the ODM community in Taiwan confirmed that the dissolution of the PCMCIA association, whose activities and responsibilities (including the ExpressCard compliance program) have now been taken over by the USB Implementer's Forum in 2010, may hastened the demise of the technology.

He added that "Cool gadgets like the USB Humping Dog (opens in new tab) are signs of a technology that went mainstream; ExpressCard has yet to get such a killer product".

We spoke to the spokesperson of one major global, popular accessories manufacturer who told us that they wouldn't be launching any more ExpressCard products in the future citing the lack of demand and overall product visibility.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.