|Re: HP PRIME-Where there's smoke.....|
Message #6 Posted by bhtooefr on 3 Apr 2013, 7:50 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by René Franquinet
The market is quite small, but it does exist, and I think HP could profit if they do it right.
- A segment of the higher education market (where they may not have access to a computer in certain situations) can use it, although often educational calculators get crippled so that instructors don't have to worry about someone's calculator taking the test for them
- If I were working in the field, I'd much rather depend on a 50g that costs $110 or whatever it is to replace now, and runs for months on AAAs, rather than a smartphone that costs $600 and runs for hours on a proprietary LiIon battery
- Similarly, a laptop running a math package isn't practical in many of those situations
- There's always the anti-convergence argument - some people want a dedicated device for calculating, which is especially handy when using the phone for something else. Also, most smartphones don't have keyboards, whereas calculators do
That said, the market being quite small, it needs to share resources with the markets where calculators are firmly entrenched. Excluding 4-bangers, that means financial (where HP is strong, but not much can be shared with a grapher - an RPN scientific, yes, just look at the WP 34S, but not a grapher) and education (I don't know how HP is doing outside of the US, but in the US, textbooks actually teach TI-83+ button presses, so that's a market that is extremely weak for HP).
And, HP has shared resources between calculator families before, all the way back to... well, the HP-80, really. But, even the 48, which was its own platform, used a software stack that was originally used on a financial machine (but intended for scientific machines), and shared a lot of hardware resources (manufacturing methods, suppliers, and even some parts) with the Pioneer machines. And, they ultimately released the 38 as a cut-down educational variant.
Not only that, but they've got the beginnings of a suitable software stack (the key will be integrating RPN, as much of the buyers of a high-end HP will want RPN - although, there's a reason why the 49 and newer boot up in algebraic, and it's almost certainly expanding the market - if someone uninitiated to RPN picks up a 50g and it's in RPN mode, they're less likely to try to understand the machine, but in algebraic, they'll be able to do basic calculations on it), and they've got the beginnings of a suitable hardware platform in the 39gII. And, HP has shown that they're able to do extremely niche market releases - see the 15C LE - on an existing hardware platform. Granted, that one was less effort, given that they already had the Nut emulator for the ARM 12Cs, and they already had the 15C ROM developed, so there was less software effort, but still.
Edited: 3 Apr 2013, 7:54 a.m.