|Re: HP 50g 75 Mhz Arm9 Processor|
Message #27 Posted by Howard Owen on 6 Sept 2007, 1:10 a.m.,
in response to message #16 by Egan Ford
I should add that as far as calculators go the user experience and interface of the 48 IMHO is the best there ever was.
I actually prefer the 50g, with its user interface a lineal descendant of the 48's. But in general, I agree with you on this.
Shrink the 48 down to 2 lines, lose the graphics, replace RPL with RPN, put it in a 42S size can and call it the ultimate RPN.
I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I love the 42s as much as you seem to. It's not perfect, but it's as close as an RPN calculator ever got. I'd love to see an incremental improvement on the 42s running on modern hardware.
But on the other hand, I have this nagging feeling that hewing to that line could make us miss something novel and truly useful. This feeling has solidified since I began playing with the TI nSpire. This calculator has a killer user interface for education. The interface is a document broken into "problems." This is a set of pages, easily navigable with intuitive keystrokes. There's a tabbed interface, or, with a simple combined keystroke, a thumbnail view of the document. The controls work like a PC's do. ESC gets you out of where you are. CTRL modifies a key for its second function. These semantics are second nature to school kids today. On any page, you can place one of four applications. The applications are a calculation work area, a very nice and flexible graphing slate, a combined matrix editor and spreadsheet and a note taker. Variables have problem scope, so a lesson can link results, graphs, equations and notes together. The result is highly functional for presenting, practicing and testing mathematical knowledge. The display is super sharp and very attractive. It's the best greyscale LCD I've ever seen. And TI has done some very good design work with typography and other graphical elements.
I'm not saying that's the ideal interface for a professional calculator. But it sure is an innovative and strikingly effective UI for education. Surely there's more that could be done with the time honored technical calculator interface? I'd like to see something that retained the stack, the postfix entry scheme, the keyboard look and, particularly, feel. But I want to see those elements applied to a revolutionary calculator design. TI has shown that such a thing is possible. I think the nSpire CAS is nothing short of brilliant for its target market. The field is clear to do some bold thinking with technical calculators. Please HP, surprise and amaze me!