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The Future of Calculators?
Posted by Eric on 14 February 2001, 23:07 GMT

Isaac (yeah, that Isaac) sent me a link today about the recent cancellation of a calculator-handheld combo by that other calculator maker. Apparently HP has decided that the market isn't ready for their recently announced Xpander calculator-handheld, which ran the Windows CE operating system. Anyone have any ideas about what this means for the future? I've long thought that calculators would be eventually phased out and replaced by computers, but apparently this isn't going to happen yet.

TI, on the other hand, (if you haven't heard about it already) has recently announced the TI-Navigator, a $9,800 system that allows wireless networking of TI-83+ calculators. So...with all this innovation, what's here to stay?

Update (Eric): And in case you stumbled upon the CNET article about TI-Navigator and was thinking that "Michael Disabato" sounded a bit familiar, I can confirm that yes, the aforementioned figure is indeed the paternal unit of Nick. That is all.

 


The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.


Re: The Future of Calculators?
Joegan Account Info

First comment.. Ahhh yeah..

Anyway, who is going to buy a calculator that is that powerful and runs a windows operating system? Seriously? And like no teachers are going to let you use something that powerful, cuz it would make cheating so much easier. I doubt that would have sold very well.

Joegan

     14 February 2001, 23:13 GMT

Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
alanxz  Account Info

not all of us still go to school (although I still do) so it may be useful for some

     14 February 2001, 23:37 GMT

Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Albert  Account Info

If you got powerful enough, and started using Windows CE, you minus well get a palm pilot. Calculators were supposed to be made into math tools, not programming tools. (although it is a great option)

     15 February 2001, 06:12 GMT


Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
exec666 Account Info
(Web Page)

I have a palm pilot but im sad to say that you would have to fork out more money to get a graphing calc app, and most of the apps for the palm are no where near as powerfull as the 68k series.

     15 February 2001, 20:57 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Nick Carlson

It's called Easy Calc. It's free. Find it at PalmGear. It's GPL, I think.
Or, if you've got money to burn and a Visor, you could buy the "powerOne Graph" Springboard module. They're both very decent capable calculators, though Easy Calc is a bit better for higher maths.

-- Nick

     15 February 2001, 22:40 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Sebastian Reichelt  Account Info
(Web Page)

This sounded so interesting I just had to look it up. If what you said was true, it could have been ported to make our own OS for calcs. But it doesn't have a CAS, so all you could get is the capabilities of a TI-83.

     17 February 2001, 12:18 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Nick Carlson

The emphasis wasn't on that it was GPL (or able to be ported). The emphasis was on that it's a good calculator for Palm computers. ^_^

I personally don't need symbolic manipulation just yet, so it doesn't really matter. ^_^

     17 February 2001, 19:35 GMT


Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Dustin Kimble  Account Info
(Web Page)

I know that this has nothing about the subject, but I think that TiCalc.org should have a NOSTUB and a DOORSOS (or whatever other OS's there are) section on all of the program screens. Its confusing to go download a program and now be able to run it because Doors hasn't made anythink for HW 2.05. (I think that all ASM programs should be NOSTUB anyway)

What do you think?

     16 February 2001, 18:00 GMT


Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Mike Peck  Account Info

Dustin,
There is a DOOROS available that is AMS 2.05 Compatible. Its the newest one on there web site, but even with this make sure you install HW2Patch because the programs will not be able to run on a HW2 calc.

     18 February 2001, 16:29 GMT

Xpander - real info
Adam Berlinsky-Schine  Account Info
(Web Page)

First of all, the Xpander project was canceled months ago. I don't know why CNet just caught wind of it now.

Secondly, your analysis, "Apparently HP has decided that the market isn't ready for their recently announced Xpander calculator-handheld" is wrong - the most consistent report of the reason for canceling the Xpander (there are many rumors - none quite like you put it), is that HP is cutting back - or even destroying - their educational department, which makes sense, since it is such a small division of HP. If that's true, it poses other questions similar to what you asked, but for a different reason. But it has nothing to do with "people not being ready."

     14 February 2001, 23:17 GMT

Re: Xpander - real info
Eric Sun  Account Info
(Web Page)

all right, that makes sense too...i was speaking about what the cnet article seemed to connotate.

     14 February 2001, 23:55 GMT


Re: Xpander - real info
AuroraBoriales

The actual first word of this came from a french HP calc site. I forgot what it was called, but using a rough transalation from babelfish(babelfish.altavista.com) I was able to get a general idea of what it meant. Overall, due to the lack of sales, HP is trying to focus more on their other products like their computers and other computer perhiperals. Their HP-49g model was meant to rival the 89, but despite it's more features, it was actually slower, not to mention in my opinion, very ugly with very hard to press keys that are not good for use in mathamatics competitions. The 49g model sold even less than their old 48g models. Overall, it is true that TI is winning the calculator battle, espically in the area of graphing calcs.
The xpander was mentioned in an issue of HP education magazine, or at least something like it. They probably didn't release that much info about it, because they had 4 different pictures of it, and all of those were different. One had a color screen that displayed an impressive looking Windows CE logo, and the rest of them had monochrome screens, one was really squarey, one had very fine pixels, and the last picture was a back view. In the article they claimed that with the xpander, you could write in equations, etc. using their "unique touch screen"(actaully this is not true, Sharp had the first touch screen calculator). I don't see a use to this, because pressing a sequence of keys, in my opinion, is a much better way to enter data. Not only is writing on a screen slow, but it is not always accruate(I have a palm, I KNOW). It is true that they were planning to use Windows CE, but on some site, it is only based on CE, and will have many features removed. Some rumors said that the memory could be used to store Mpeg3 music and other files, but it will not have a headphone jack, and it's link port will be serial, not TTL like TI calcs. Anyways, the Xpander was a horrid idea that never got released. Anyway, I'll stop rambling, my lunch period is almost over.

     15 February 2001, 19:57 GMT

Re: The Future of Calculators?
JaggedFlame Account Info

Shouldn't the Xpander have run Windows XP?

Heh... couldn't resist. :-P

     14 February 2001, 23:32 GMT


Pro TI
Raptor5588  Account Info

TI good HP bad.

     15 February 2001, 00:06 GMT


Re: Pro TI
Eric Greening  Account Info
(Web Page)

Need I type all of this out agian? Just look at my other HP vs. TI posts (there's quite a large amount of them). I cannot begin to state the many pro's & con's of the HP over those of TI. I would be lost if it weren't for my hp49g. I use both my hp and my ti89/92+ (89 when at school, 92+ at home. that keyboard it just too convenient (sorry, my spelling is horrible) when working on physics). But, overall the hp49g is a MUCH better than the ti89/92+. That equation editor is the best thing to hit calculators (that and flash rom).

Glenn Murphy

     15 February 2001, 03:44 GMT


Re: Re: Pro TI
lalu

Just wanted to point out that now the TI-89/92+ have an excellent Equation Writer. It will be released soon.

     15 February 2001, 20:44 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Pro TI
nyall  Account Info

Are you the guy who wrote the equation writer demo program? I tried to contact the author to tell him how to return the strings to the entry line be using the rom call ev_sendEvent. But his email went nowhere.

     15 February 2001, 21:34 GMT

Re: The Future of Calculators?
cava Account Info

Why not a wireless networking system for the 89? Nothing like a freakin' $9,800 system for a calculator that only has 24k ram and a slow z80 processor!!!

     15 February 2001, 00:06 GMT

Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Nick Carlson

More people own TI-83 Plus calculators (and probably soon the Special Edition). There's more of a chance that the majority of students in a given class use 83+s.

     15 February 2001, 00:43 GMT


Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
CircaX  Account Info
(Web Page)

Because they WANT you to have an 83+, so thay can stop caring about the 86, 89, and 92+. They want everyone to have an 83+ so they can really only have ONE calculator for you to buy, and once they have done that. . . they can do what a monopoly like Microsoft or AOL do to buisness: may you pay (in this case, for apps).

TI doesn't care about us that much. Like it's been said, they go for the ideas that make the most $$$, and SCHOOLS buy 83+'s, and that generates most of their $$$ for calcs (doesn't $9800 sound like good money when multiplied times the number of schools that buy this thing?).

     15 February 2001, 00:51 GMT

Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
cava Account Info

but, but, their number says 1-800-TICARES? Doesn't that mean anything? Are you saying that TI doesn't really want to tuck us in at night?

What I meant was wouldn't the system be more useful for the higher math classes where a TI-89 is more useful anyway?

     15 February 2001, 01:07 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
CircaX  Account Info
(Web Page)

I know what you mean. And yes, though it would be better to interconnect 89's, look an any math class you want to: the majority of students have 83+'s, as has someone else pointed out.

But we have to ask ourselves, are the teachers (much less the students) going to figure out how to use this thing? Most kids in my school wouldn't give a damn about having a wireless calc, so they sure wouldn't care to use it.

But, perhaps I think too hard. Maybe this thing will be useful, but maybe not in the classroom. I don't know. Can anyone see any practical use for this? Text messaging is out (too difficult on the keypad to type), and why bother sending equations, or answers to equations to a teacher when he/she could just walk over and help. Distribution of Y-vars, or programs? Most high school courses work can be done on-calc without any extras, and it isn't difficult to put an eq into the Y= editor (although some students have found difficulty in that). So, really, what is the point of such a thing? Can anyone give me an example as to how this might be useful?

     15 February 2001, 01:44 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
cava Account Info

gee, we could just use RadioLincs.

Just joking, everybody knows those don't really work. In fact I know from personal experience!!!

     15 February 2001, 01:51 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Ted Burton  Account Info
(Web Page)

Actually, I can type on my 89 faster than I can write by hand. Granted, it's still not anywhere near as fast as typing on a full-size qwerty keyboard, but faster than writing by hand, and no chance of writer's cramp (carpal tunnel, on the other hand, may be a risk). However, my typing speeds on my 83 and 85/86 are still slower than writing by hand.

As for why TI would choose the 83+, the only logical reasons would be because it is so popular and user-obsequitous. It has terrible resolution, only 24KB of ram, and can't even take most lowercase letters. It reaches the end of its builtin capabilities in the first half of calculus. IIRC, it can't even integrate on its own. If TI wanted it to be usable for real learning, they would have made the navigator cross-compatible with the 82, 83, 85, 86, 89, and 92(+) as well.

Most of the people with an 83+ have never read their manuals, if they didn't toss them out with the packaging. They are the ones who, if they've even heard of IRC, flame channels for games, and then wonder why they get kickbanned. They are the future salescritters and PHBs of the world. They are the ones who expect perfect software for free, and then flame the author about one tiny heisenbug, without providing any useful information (Patrick Davidson has a directory of the best examples of these on his site).

I hope that last paragraph wasn't too ranty; it is merely the truth in its bluntest form.

     17 February 2001, 22:21 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Kai  Account Info
(Web Page)

I think it was. The TI-83 PLUS has great resolution. I was just admiring how true black the screen lights up. AND you can do lowercase letters if you download Mirage OS. Sure, it's no 89/92+, but the price is right. And 83+ buyers are no idiots (all the time). Sure, many jst do math on theirs, but it is a calculator. Don't be so stereotypical. Now, I am going to have to excuse myself. I have a haircut to get.

     22 February 2001, 16:56 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
shockedslk  Account Info

In my alg II class they require 83 but i said to my self, "Self, you could have an 83 for $100 or you could bitch and scream until your parents forked over the extra $50 for a 89" but i had $600 burning a hole in my pocket so i bought a 92+ and a 89. Muhahahhaha. I much rather have my all-powerful 89 tocheat on test with.
Sean Hamilton, SLKT inc.

     5 November 2001, 03:16 GMT

Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Daniel Bishop  Account Info
(Web Page)

No, I don't think they're planning to discontinue the other calculators. I think they have a more sinister plan.

Why not sell more 86's? An 86 is equally suited for classroom use and earns TI an extra $10 per calculator than the (non-silver) 83+.

However, when a high school freshman buys an 86, there is a possibility that it will be sufficient for every math course he'll ever take, and he won't buy another graphing calc. On the other hand, if he buys an 83+ instead, he's much more likely to come to the realization that he owns an inferior calculator and will buy an 89 in the future.

TI doesn't want to discontinue the 86 or 89, but merely wants to ensure that they increase their revenue by forcing students to buy twice as many calculators as they necessary.

Of course, I am speaking of non-ticalc.org members here. With us, it is impossible to buy "more calculators than necessary." :)

     15 February 2001, 04:41 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
onefastfiveoh

ti just wants everyone to own the same calc. then they will discontinue everything dealing with it. they will divelope a new calc far better than the previous ones and uses a different link cable (more money). then they will make other calcs based off of this "super calc." then they will do the same thing over again. i agree when people say that ti doesn't care about us. they only care about the green stuff. no, not the green stuff you pick out of your nose, money. 1-800-ticares, what a joke. they offer shitty support. if you want good support you have to call a long distance number. costing you money. they are not recieving that money though, but some other big corporation that has everyone by the nuts is. they are all the same. do you think the top dog at ti actually knows how to use an 89 or a 83+se? no, he has better things to do, like play golf, hire a hooker, shit like that. i'm sure he does some work, like telling his underlings what to do to make him look better. he couldn't give a shit if you have to buy more than one calc just to stay up to date. the point that i'm trying to get across is that i completely forgot what i started talking about. i think my medicine is wearing off.

my (sone to be ti's) 2 fucking cents

onefastfiveoh

     15 February 2001, 06:07 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Jim Haskell  Account Info
(Web Page)

Welcome to the corporate US =)

     15 February 2001, 19:48 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Nick Carlson

A calculator is a calculator. I could care less if mine has that many megabytes of Flash ROM or this processor or a new type of processor or games up the wazoo. My principal calculator is a Casio 9850 (I own a TI-83+, but it's on permanent loan to my sister), for two reasons.

It's easy to use, and does what I want it to.

And unless it drops a flight of stairs or goes through the wash, I'm rather opposed to forking out another $100 or more for a new calculator. I have no qualms with my out-of-date (Casio's released the Algebra FX 2.0) and inferior calculator.

I don't need games or applications or computer synchronization or anything of the sort on my calculator. That's what PDAs and palmtop computers and the like are for. If you want computerized organizers and Galaxian clones and E-books et cetera ad nauseum, I wholeheartedly recommend getting one. The cheapest ones aren't much more than a TI-89, and have comfortable sized screens and a large library of applications, among other things.

Another thing. TI is a capitalist corporation. They're trying to make money with their electronics, not provide us with tools out of the goodness of their collective heart. Whatever ways they can make money while stepping on the least toes, they'll do it. And even though the hardcore calculator programmers may whine about it, the average Joe Shmoe calculator owner is perfectly fine with it.

In conclusion ... um ... er, that's it.

-- Nick

     15 February 2001, 22:55 GMT


Re: Re: Re: The Future of Calculators?
Kai  Account Info
(Web Page)

Hey, they have listened in the past few years. Need I mention more memory versions (SE) and ASM support?

     22 February 2001, 16:50 GMT

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