Friday, December 14, 2007

Goodbye PCMCIA!


As recently as a year ago, EVDO users were still waiting on a Revision A ExpressCard. PCMCIA cards were the form factor of choice, and USB and ExpressCards were just starting to be released on Sprint and Verizon.

It's surprising how much can change in a year. At this point, USB and ExpressCard options greatly outnumber the PCMCIA cards available for EVDO. Things are changing in the world of laptop computers, and PCMCIA is no longer the wise option. Laptop manufacturers are making the transition to ExpressCard slots, and it's hard to find a new laptop that uses PCMCIA.

What does this mean for potential customers of EVDO devices? It means when deciding on form factor, PCMCIA is probably not the best choice. Even if your computer currently has a PCMCIA slot on it, if you decide to upgrade your computer a year into your contract, chances are your new computer won't. This means you will have to buy a new card, and in the middle of your contract, it won't be cheap. You will pay full retail on a new EVDO card - generally between $250-$330.

While it is still the case that most EVDO routers have PCMCIA slots, almost every EVDO device available right now has at least 1 router that it is compatible with. With ExpressCards you will have to use either an ExpressCard to PCMCIA adapter, or an ExpressCard to USB adapter. On the USB side of things, there are already several routers available with a USB port that you can plug your EVDO device into.

While it may seem strange to purchase an ExpressCard or USB device when you have a PCMCIA slot available, we strongly encourage you to consider it. You may need an adapter for the ExpressCard, but that extra $50 you spend now for the adapter will seem well worth it when you realize down the road you saved yourself $300 for the purchase of a new EVDO device.