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HP Forum Archive 09

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why calculators?
Message #1 Posted by Christof (Davis, CA) on 18 Sept 2002, 3:30 a.m.

I hate to overfill the new thread bucket. but I'm not sure where this fits.

Regarding the specifics of a new calculator project:

(please note that a lot of this is biased opinion, but there should be some salient fact based meat in the mix)

1: I could be VERY wrong, but I don't feel that there are enough old calculators floating around to make a "gutting old HPs" approach worthwhile. It'd get a few of us a few machines. (similar to the 32K HP42S project- which is fantastic!!! We just lack a large supply of 42S calcs). It wouldn't get us, kids, friends, associates- not all of us would be able to get machines. (I'll deal with demand later)

2: I don't see why a slightly larger (3 lines will fit, I don't think 4 will- quite) display is not an option for an evolved 41/42 concept. It seems to be being addressed as something that goes with other types of development, and there's no real need. (more on graphics and plotting later)

3: I have yet to meet a PDA with a keyboard that will work the way a pioneer does. While I find a lot of the PDA based science apps and RPN calculators to be great, it's still not a field/lab calculator. And can you imagine being permitted to use one on a test!? (more on tests and education later)

4: Project management is essential, but we should also remember that for people whose goals differ drastically, there can be different projects. Projects already exist to emulate HPs on PDAs, to build scientific workstations from PDAs, etc. there's nothign wrong with more than one answer.

5: The difference between designing a calc and designing an add on is extreme. Look at what marketers are purpoted to have done to the HP49G. Can you imagine what TI would do to the plans for a 42GZX or something?

Now, a bit of market, purpose, and other stuff I've been thinking on for a few days. (and thinking while using. field observation usage in a psych data collecting project, chemistry lab,statistics, and a math course.)

a: The largest possible display on a roughly 42 form factor is none to big anyway, it's a good idea to try for the max.

Looking at the 42S and a 48 side by side, it's not going to be possible to get a display the size of the 48 without adding about 1cm to the length. # lines is probably max. (having all 4 levels of stack visible would be a fantastic selling point as peple would be able to much more easily use, understand, and manipulate the stack.)

b: graphics and plotting may not be an issue for most of us- and some people seem opposed to the idea of anyone having plotting capability. I have to disagree. No plotting takes away a lot of market for what would be a small seller anyway. And no, or extremely limited graphics, would take away form appeal for various applications. both in the field, in school, and for the hacker. (dont' discount the hacker market segment, look at the people who were buying the 35!)

C: Speaking of limited sales- I must stress that I see no reason to "compete" with TI or HP or Casio. I keep feeling that this point is getting lost whenever someone mentions the impossibility of going up against TI.

We dont' need to conquer TI. A small business can be successful. There's a place for the 16,000 unix laptop in the field, and there's a place for a special programmable calculator in the world.

let me emphasize this one: A small business can be successful.

D: Part of the specialized segment to which we cold potentially sell is the "different" science/engineering majors. There's always a few people who have a different approach, or a desire and ability to make use of "hackable" devices. (and yes, I admit most of them buy TI89s or 48GXs now, but I think a modern 41 would beat both out, especially with the accessories)

That's about enough spouting for the moment, hey?

Thanks for the time to read, Christof

Re: why calculators?
Message #2 Posted by Speck on 18 Sept 2002, 11:26 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Christof (Davis, CA)

Two questions:

"...Look at what marketers are purpoted to have done to the HP49G. Can you imagine what TI would do to the plans for a 42GZX or something?"

I have never heard of anything about this (I'm fairly new to HP's and to these boards). Were they trying to build it up or drag it down? I'm curious, because I'm a 49G owner. Which leads to my second question:

"...(having all 4 levels of stack visible would be a fantastic selling point as peple would be able to much more easily use, understand, and manipulate the stack.)"

I run with font 8 and the stack display at the smallest possible setting. With two lines of info header at the top, and a softkey menu at the bottom, I still have seven stack levels shown in between. Four stack levels seem to take up the space of about a standard two-line display. Since we're looking at a custom machine with a specific market, would this (a default small display) be something to consider, to cut a little bit of LCD real estate? Or is it better to stick to the current 48/49 sized display, since the tooling and display drivers are already well established?

I have to agree with your remarks about gutting old calcs. There seem like there are quite a few out there, but certainly not to the levels of old Atari carts or something like that.

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