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I would love to believe otherwise, but the evidence seems inescapable: HP is no longer a leader in the calculator industry, but a "me too" copycat of other manufacturers' cheap products.

  1. The appearance of an = key on HP calculator keyboards often makes me wonder what kind of cigarettes HP R&D engineers were smoking. Leaving out the HP-10A, algebraic logic seems to be a (relatively) recent item.

  2. Cheap LCDs that use tall-but-narrow, 7-segment digits and raised, smaller, exponents for scientific notation. Just like Japanese calculators.

  3. Appearance of TI-like keys on the keyboard, such as 2nd and +/-.

Of course, copying is far more economical than designing something new. I suppose this has made it possible for HP to decrease its R&D budget to $12.83 per annum.

Too bad Messrs. Hewlett and Packard aren't around anymore to run the company.


P.S.: Sorry, but I just woke up in a sour mood this morning, and then had the bad idea of looking up the HP-9G "manuals" -- and that set me off.

Make room for someone else to seat, please...