The acronym PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. As the industrial organization’s name implies, it promotes and creates standards for PC memory cards. However, they are not merely confined to memory devices but also have cards for modem, wireless connectivity, and other related functions for the PC or laptop where there are areas of concern.


This trade association has been in existence since 1989 and has over 100 member companies. The body has been able to establish Integrated Circuit card standards and promotes the usability of mobile computers. As there are an increasing number of mobile computer users over recent years, the PCMCIA has to adapt as well.

Meanwhile, here are the general objectives of the association:

  • Use of mobile application for computers, digital audio or video equipment, cameras, and vehicles;
  • Provide ease for the user’s experience;
  • Create more market for these modular peripherals by increasing knowledge for its members and the community as a whole.

Breakthroughs for the Body

Initially, a 68-pin connector was used for memory cards but this was revised by PCMCIA in 1991 when they revealed a new I/O interface for that same connector. Meanwhile, the new Socket Services Specification and Card Services Specification were also developed to address the individual problems of common software and enhance their overall function.

Then, the high-speed and multimedia networking tools were soon introduced to the market. Along with this, the 100 Mbit Ethernet and MPEG video were enhanced with the introduction of the CardBus 32-bit interface and a new specification for Zoomed Video. These new speed enhancements certainly changed the phase of software applications and paved the way for more mobile-oriented breakthroughs.

PCMCIA also promoted the use of PC cards to be not restricted to mobile computers. They can also be used for other devices such as cable TV, digital cameras, and automobiles. These new capability expansion efforts have also facilitated the growth of mobile devices.

PCMCIA is still continuing its efforts to develop the standards for the ExpressCard, which will improve performance for whatever type of computer. Recently, a small form factor card that allows you to store data from on a handset using this card was also introduced. PC cards may now also be able to hold memory and be transported to other devices.