It seems that the hottest accessories for portable computers are cards that conform to the Personal Computer Memory Card International Assn. (PCMCIA) standard. The cards originally were used only to add memory to handheld devices such as pocket computers. But now, they contain such things as modems, hard drives, and other features. Consequently, computer manufacturers are adding slots that accept the credit-card-size devices to many larger notebook PCs. To make its portables stand out from the pack, Toshiba America Inc. has introduced what it thinks will be the next-generation memory-card slot.
Like other notebooks, the Toshiba T1900 and T4600 lines can accept any card that meets PCMCIA standards. These include the recently approved Type 3 hard-drive cards, which are about as thick as a pencil but hold 108 megabytes of information. But Toshiba figures future PCMCIA cards, such as those containing pagers, will require a wider slot. Toshiba's newest card slot is 16 mm wide, giving the notebooks a "three-car garage" for current and future cards, says Steven Lair, vice-president for marketing at Toshiba's computer division. But the PCMCIA group refused to endorse the new slot. The reason: It believes the three current slot sizes are adequate.