|Re: Some kind thoughts about HP's new direction|
Message #37 Posted by Jake Schwartz on 6 Aug 2007, 10:33 p.m.,
in response to message #26 by Frank Rottgardt
This is due to the HP management decision to shut down the Corvalis group. Unbelievable how much expert knowledge of excellent calculator design vanished this way.
For those who weren't there....in 1993 around the time HP48GX was being released, the Corvallis division was at a fork in the road with that facility producing both laptops (Omnibooks, if I remember correctly) and handhelds (both calculators and the LX palmtops). We were told at the time that senior management felt Corvallis should concentrate on just one of those two - and they chose laptops. As a result, handhelds went to Singapore, where they worked seemingly 99% of the time on palmtops and 1% on calculators. At the 1995 and 1996 conferences in Minneapolis and Anaheim respectively, the Singapore head of handhelds, Kheng Joo Khaw, basically indicated that palmtops were "where it's at" and calculators did not need to be emphasized at that time. We calulator supporters disagreed, of course. The only new unit of any significance was the release of the algebraic hp38G in '95. We also saw the DOS-based palmtops end with the 200LX and the beginning of the 300LX-and-onward Windows CE machines. It was a strange time.
We thought HP calcs were done until in 1997, the Australian ACO group was formed with Chris Wallin speaking at the HPCC British conference and promising us that things would return to a strong position again. Their early products (48G+, hp6S and 6S Solar, hp10BII in the new case and hp30S) were underwhelming, with the 6S and 30S representing the first time hp put their name on machines which they essentially did not design. Finally, new development seemed to resurface with the hp49G in 1999. Although the case colors, keyboard and key arrangement were strange, the functionality was a nice step forward from the 48 series. I firmly believe that if the developers of the HP48 Metakernel software had not done their thing in 1997, the hp49G, 49G+ & 50G would not have been built, calcs would have faded into oblivion and the current San Diego group would not have formed to ultimately attempt a 35S and any return to HP's "roots". So, many thanks to Cyrille, Jean-Yves, Gerald and the gang :-)