|Re: Casio fx-9860G --> RPN calculator?|
Message #42 Posted by DaveJ on 23 Dec 2008, 6:35 a.m.,
in response to message #41 by Don Shepherd
They get the ad space because that's what people are buying. I'm sure the margins on cell phones and ipods are pretty high, but companies make money selling the things people have demonstrated they want; that's just plain old business sense. I have a hunch that if you stood in the doorway of your local Office Depot store and tallied how many calculators go out the door versus ipods and phones, you would quickly see that many more ipods are sold every day than calculators.
Of course. That's what I was getting at.
We calculator geeks are not in the best position to determine the continued viability of the calculator market. The calculator manufacturers are, and I have no idea of the actual data they see. I know that there must be some market for calculators, because they are currently sold at all major department store chains (Meijer, Target, KMart, Best Buy, Circuit City), drug stores (Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid), and of course the office supply stores. Not to mention online outlets like Amazon.com which sell nearly everything these days (and of which I am a frequent customer!).
There is more than "some market" for calculators, it's a massive market. Not as big as mobile phones, but big none the less.
If mobile phones were ever going to replace calculators it would have happened by now, mobile phone market saturation is almost total.
Yet what's happening? - the calc manufacturers are seemingly churning out more models than ever.
When I look at my immediate family members (maybe 7 families), I think only 1 has a calculator in the house; my father-in-law who is a retired chemistry professor. I know my mother does not have one; she is 86 and still does arithmetic the old-fashioned way, using pencil and paper.
I have the total opposite experience. As usual, YMMV.
But anecdotes like this are essentially meaningless, we need to look at the bigger picture.
I think there are probably four major markets for calculators: the casual user or small businessman who just needs a four banger; schoolkids who need a TI because of school; financial and real estate people who need a business calculator for their job; and professional engineers. I'm an old guy. I know what a punched card is. My daughter (29) is of the ipod/iphone generation. I'm sure she does not have a calculator in her house because she just doesn't need one, and if she did she might just use her cell phone for that purpose. I'll never own an iphone, but the concept is pretty cool, in my opinion. If I were 30 years younger, I might ask myself why carry a calculator, gps receiver, notepad, remote controller, phone, etc., when one device will do all those functions and take up a lot less room in my pocket? And it's cool too! And future engineeers might very well ask the same question, and if engineering type functions are available for them on iphones and those devices they are already carrying, why not use them?
I think you are confusing the two clearly different usage patterns here. Mobile usage and desk/home/office/lab bound usage.
Hardly anyone "carries" a calculator any more, the numbers would be insignificantly small (they always have been really). Of course these people are going to use a mobile phone, they don't have a real calculator to hand.
I've never "carried" a calculator, and use my mobile phone as a calc when I'm out and about. But when I'm at home, at work, in the lab etc it's a different story.
Calculators are specific use items designed to be generally left in place in needed locations ready for use. That alone dictates an entire sustainable market segment.
Those several billion calculators that have been sold and the at least 10's of millions of new ones sold every year go somewhere, and most people will always feel more comfortable using them than using their mobile phone with its non-optimal interface.
I doubt that iphones will put the calculator industry out of business anytime soon, I agree. But long term, the trend is clear.
Where is this trend? Where is the data?
Until you can show declining data, it's all pie-in-the-sky doom'n'gloom talk.