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HP Forum Archive 08

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A Recent HP Handheld Anecdote
Message #1 Posted by John Kercheval on 11 Apr 2002, 4:50 p.m.

NOT SO LONG AGO, a few of the members of our HP 41/ 71 enthusiast team got together for wine and melon to talk about the type of individual who invests in these products. It was a casual get together, more conversation than meeting; an easy back-and-forth as technical interchanges go.

A question came up, however, which focused us all on a single point. It seems that a member of the team had been asked by a heavily talented friend if 41/ 71 equipment could be properly seen as ‘fast lane’ products. Was it, as he had been told, THE handheld system to own- one more sophisticated statement he might make within his home?

Frowns went all around. Embarrassment was in the air for this distant friend.

The conversation that ensued distilled a single answer. It was that HP 41/71 computers and accessories were meant only to place in the user’s hands analytical efficacy for all who chose to own them. The esteem in which they were held would not rub off on the owner. To us, using these products for social definition seemed a silly, quaintly adolescent idea, a quest better suited to the many more visible, if less valuable, symbolic products in the marketplace.

We felt that these products were so easy to own that their value would stand without the crutch of status. Their sophistication and their identity lay with their ability to analyze data without coloration and with their ability to keep handheld computing at the forefront and technology parked out of the way.

So it went. Our friend with a quest for a ‘message product’ made us think quite hard about what we were trying to achieve with our own systems. Consensus about his need could only be reached tongue and cheek. It was simply decided that , while he may well end up owning a 41 or 71 handheld system , we would not in our hearts consider him to be one of us.

At one time or another, with one group or another, such talk goes on with HP handheld enthusiasts. It shapes our development efforts and loosens up the future for us. Perhaps it is not all that important that you know this, but we will wager that the effect of these conversations is half the reason you are interested in such products in the first place.

It was hard to tell why no one ate the lone pear- someone did once say you couldn't trust a pear.

John Kercheval

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