The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 08

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Re: HP's that lasted >10 years
Message #1 Posted by Ellis Easley on 8 Aug 2002, 3:52 p.m.

I imagine one reason for the rapid introduction of new models in the early years was technological advancement - availablity of better chips plus the evolution of HP's understanding of what user's expectations were. These were pretty well defined when LCD's became available and then came the 41C. I wonder how much impact LCD displays had on the acceptability of calculators (I mean how much did sales go up in response) since all the problems of rechargable batteries went away. Higher sales (as long as they were profitable!) would have encouraged HP to keep a model in production longer - and to enhance it (CV, CX).

A recipe for the HP-41C birth
Message #2 Posted by Andrés C. Rodríguez (Argentina) on 8 Aug 2002, 6:48 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Ellis Easley

Many wonders...

LCD + CMOS = Continuous Memory + No rechargeable batteries

LCD = ALPHA at acceptable cost and power budgets

CMOS + Moore's Law = Non Volatile, enough capacity RAM for nicer and longer programs

HISTORY (1972-1978?) + COMMITTMENT to be excellent = Understanding of user needs and preferences + good implementations + creativity + human factors (Keyboard feel, "USER", and even "NULL" are examples)

LAB INSTRUMENTATION BACKGROUND + HP-IB (aka IEEE 488) = Peripherals and HP-IL insight

OPTOELECTRONICS BACKGROUND + SEMICONDUCTOR BACKGROUND = Optical Wand + ROM as software distribution media + custom chips with serial buses...


ENGINEERING BACKGROUND = Few politics and speculation

But also a tender critique...

EXCESS OF INVENTIVENESS = Newer but poor interboard connectors, flexible printed circuit bus (corrossion sensitivity), lack of standards support such as RS232, weak plastics for screw posts...

Re: HP's that lasted >10 years
Message #3 Posted by Steve Borowsky on 12 Aug 2002, 2:19 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Ellis Easley

Once programmability was well-established there was a built-in mechanism to limit new models. At that point only radical advances in technology made a completely new model necessary, such as the move from 67->41->71->48.

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