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OT--TI's SR-60 - Printable Version

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OT--TI's SR-60 - Matt Agajanian - 04-24-2012

Hi all.

For those who remember, which HP model was TI's SR-60 (desktop) meant to be equivalent or comparable to?

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - Eric Smith - 04-24-2012

It's not clear that the SR-60 was "meant to be equivalent or comparable to" anything. It's just something the TI people thought up. Though obviously HP and TI were competitors, it was not the case that every TI or HP calculator was a response to or attempt to compete with a particular competitor's product.

I suppose you could say that it is sort of vaguely between the 9815 and 9820, but not really. In some regards it is significantly more capable than those HP models, and in other regards less.

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - Matt Agajanian - 04-24-2012

Hello there. While fiddling around the Datamath museum, I came across this page: SR-60 DmCM page which says it that the 60 was meant to compete with the HP-9825. Does that sound right?

Edited: 24 Apr 2012, 8:19 p.m.

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - Eric Smith - 04-24-2012

I suppose it's as good a story as any. Without finding a quote to that effect from a TI spokesperson, there's no way to actually know what (if anything) they were trying to compete with.

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - David Ramsey - 04-24-2012

Since I have an SR-60 and most of the HP desktop calculators of the time, and gave a talk on them at last year's HHC, I'll give my opinion:

The SR-60 was not intended to compete with any HP desktop machine. Although both machines were introduced in 1976, the 9825, programmable in HPL, is a much, much faster and more advanced machine. They really are not even remotely comparable.

Even the 9815 stomps all over the SR-60 performance-wise, as you might expect given that it uses a Motorola 6800 as compared to the little 4-bit calculator CPU in the SR-60.

HP desktops were designed for scientists and engineers. Every one from the 9810 on had expansion capabilities and could be connected to peripheral devices and controllers. The SR-60 was designed for business use, where lower performance was acceptable and connecting plotters and tape drives, or plugging in ROMs with transcendental math routines, simply wasn't a market requirement.

TI called the SR-60 a "programmable prompting calculator", and so it was. You could display alphanumeric messages on its display and take one of 5 different branches depending on whether the user pressed "Yes", "No", "Not Apply", "Not Known", or "Enter"...but it could not input or directly work with alpha data. It was also really, really slow, even by the standards of the time.

The SR-60 is an interesting intermediate step between a purely numeric calculator like, say, the 9810, and a "real computer" like the 9825. TI's ads at the time featured a secretary entering data into an auto insurance calculation, guided by the prompts on the display. It did indeed work well in such applications; I only wish TI had built the SR-60 to the physical standards of the HP machines of the time. It's extremely delicate and filled with custom PMOS circuits that will blow if you jump a spark on the other side of the room.

Edited: 24 Apr 2012, 11:04 p.m.

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - Matt Agajanian - 04-24-2012

Well, perhaps someone could send the curator of the Datamath Museum a bit more info so that the SR-60's not billed as an HP-9825 competitor.

Edited: 24 Apr 2012, 11:09 p.m.

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - Jake Schwartz - 04-24-2012

...the 60 was meant to compete with the HP-9825. Does that sound right?

Based on its programming capability, I'd say a better comparison would be to the HP9810, since the 9825 used the higher-level "HPL" language, more like BASIC. I would say that the only similarity between the SR60 and the 9825 would be that they were released roughly in the same year (1976). At last year's HHC2011 HP handhelds conference in San Diego, David Ramsey brought his SR60A and gave an excellent presentation on it. An Acrobat pdf-format version of his slides are available here.


Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - David Ramsey - 04-25-2012

I hadn't noticed that. Joerg knows way more about calculators than I do, but I'll have to disagree with him on this one.

Re: OT--TI's SR-60 - Joerg Woerner - 04-25-2012

Thanks - I will change my statement accordingly.