|Re: Death of RPN|
Message #2 Posted by Vassilis Prevelakis on 16 Dec 2002, 9:38 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Tom (UK)
You are confusing development with production. The intel 8051 is still being used even though decades have passed since the design was fixed. Many companies (e.g. Philips) have made minor extensions to the architecture, but the new designs are essentially compatible (or can be switched to a compatiblity mode) with the original 8051.
HP may continue to produde Saturns for as long as there is a demand for the calculators. If there is demand for a specific package (e.g. 12C) then you only need to improve manufacturing techniques (and lower production cost). HP may realize that for certain applications the technology has matured (e.g. ballpoint pens, people still buy expensive ones, not because they have more features, but because they look better, feel better and impress the owner's friends). I would guess that in the case of the 12C, users do not really want something better, what they have is what they need/want. Of course by making these calculators feel cheap HP is going to lose that market as well (its like Parker or Cross making their pens look like plastic BICs).
If you want to use another processor, you can just write an emulator for the saturn architecture. It has been done and the code is generally available. Why do you think that you need to port the source? Users do not care whether their calculator runs native code or emulated code. Saturn can become the p-system of calculators.
The BIG cost is tooling for the calculator itself: keyboard, covers, display etc. This is the limiting factor.
So I would agree with your suggestion that we will end up with a "virtual" calculator running on a PDA. I wouldn't like that, and I would try to hang on to my existing calculators as long as I can, but without replacements, the time will eventually come when I'll have to switch to a new platform.