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Phoenix project - Jean-Michel - 11-11-2007

Hi all,

I read frequently and with great interest most of the threads related to the Open45 project, also know under the name “Phoenix”.
I find the proposal for the project itself and especially the design of the calculator very nice and very appealing.

This being said, it remains something I don’t understand: what are we talking about exactly?

Do we talk about a calculator made by some HP fans :

- for themselves and some others, that means about a few hundreds of persons,

- or for every person in the world who could buy this product instead (or in addition !) of another real HP, that would means several thousands of people ?

If I ask this question, that is because in terms of design of the casing, you sure know that it would be totally different according to the number of products you hope to sell.

If this calculator is only to be produced in few quantities, then moulded plastic parts, that gives the machine its nice and “professional” aspect and contributes mainly in its appeal, have to be forgotten. The price of the moulds would simply be out of reach.
Even if the rest of the project, especially the software, is wonderful, the result (the casing plus the software, the electronic, etc…) will be even if not totally ugly, at least very far from what Pal G. and others have drawn and from some of us are already dreaming about.
Machined aluminium parts, which could be an alternative solution for moulded parts, would also be very expensive.

On the contrary, if this project can be made professionally enough for everything else than, say, the casing and the keys, and if it appears that it only remains to be done an appealing casing to permit to sell it to very much people, then a mass production tool for moulded plastic parts can be used with less fear to loose a huge amount of money.

I hope I haven’t missed something in the previous threads which would answer this question. My personal point of view is the following:

- I’m interested by this project enough to invest, first of all, time to help in designing the plastic parts (if required)

- I would buy the calculator at a price of about US$100 IF this calculator has a nice aspect. This point is very important for me, as much as the capabilities (in term of computing, programmability and so on) of the calculator.

- I have a slight preference for a portrait form factor

Hope this helps.

Kind regards

Jean-Michel.


Re: Phoenix project - DaveJ - 11-11-2007

Quote:
I read frequently and with great interest most of the threads related to the Open45 project, also know under the name “Phoenix”.
I find the proposal for the project itself and especially the design of the calculator very nice and very appealing.

This being said, it remains something I don’t understand: what are we talking about exactly?

Do we talk about a calculator made by some HP fans :

- for themselves and some others, that means about a few hundreds of persons,

- or for every person in the world who could buy this product instead (or in addition !) of another real HP, that would means several thousands of people ?


It's for fun, just for us, just because we can.
Shooting for anything else is guaranteed failure. You have to start small and build your way up.

You may have heard about OpenRPN, another similar project that has been going for a few years now. As far as I know, this project is shooting for a professional level product from the start, trying to be perfect from day one - the result - not even a first prototype to show for it after all this time.

Quote:
If I ask this question, that is because in terms of design of the casing, you sure know that it would be totally different according to the number of products you hope to sell.

Yes, I think everyone is aware of this, but I also think most people on this forum like to dream about stuff more than they do about actually building something for fun. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it's not very conducive to getting a practical design off the ground. The recent Phoenix threads about they key layout, key legends, display backlighting, rendered 3D views, and software architecture, while great talking points, are a complete waste of time at this point. It is a classic example of how people love to get ahead of themselves, which in the end leads to zero practical progress.

As far as I know, there are only two people who have been able to produce practical calculator designs so far:
Eric Smith with his DIY3:

and me with my uWatch:

Both are good examples of how it has come down to just one person getting a prototype done and worrying about the finer details later.

Although I can't actually speak for Eric, it is clear both of us started with simple and easy prototypes and worked our way up:

The Phoenix project will have to go through a similar quick'n'dirty prototype stage if it is to ever get off the ground.

Dave.

Edited: 11 Nov 2007, 6:10 p.m.


Re: Phoenix project - Hugh Evans - 11-11-2007

Indeed, these discussions are nice thought exercises, but ultimately someone must take the reigns and get things done. You are absolutely right in terms of getting something out the door and worrying about the other details later.

However, this community is begging for a capable and open hardware platform to play with. That's what really needs to be recognized.

-Hugh


Re: Phoenix project - Martin Pinckney - 11-13-2007

If the project is indeed just for fun, have at it, but in my opinion, if you want a good usable calculator, the energy might be better spent lobbying HP to come out with a 45s incorporating some of the expressed wants in a calculator to supplement the 35s.