Repurposing the HP Prime?


ARM processor, color graphics display, keyboard... what could be better as a platform for embedded programming?

Is there any information out there on the internals of the Prime? Or is it too early to be asking this sort of question?



You can look on the (currently) best wiki for Prime. where that information has been available for months.

They have a good collection of information and are much more excited then the average HP user from all indications I've seen regarding hacking/repurposing. I am personally QUITE excited when TI/Casio users are getting excited about an HP product.


Edited: 20 Sept 2013, 2:59 p.m.


It would be great if we could collectively achieve arbitrary code execution - and subsequently e.g. Linux, which already has support for most relevant S3C2416 subsystems - on the Prime by, say, the end of 2013 :)

Several weeks or months is the usual average timeframe for Linux becoming available on any given platform.

Every contribution helps, whether producing files and reverse-engineering their format (which might be partially derived from standard xcas/giac data representations, I'm not aware anybody checked), reverse-engineering linking protocols (both for firmware upgrades, and for two-way file transfer; unlike TI graphing calculators and the SilverLink cable, the Prime uses standard USB device classes and won't require extra drivers), reverse-engineering the firmware, making an emulator (there are outdated forks of QEMU with support for the S3C2410 and S3C2440 chips, so it's not even necessary to write everything from scratch), etc.

Needless to say, most of the items I've just listed fall under the "reverse-engineering for interoperability purposes" category, as they could be used for developing third-party software equivalent to HP's, and are therefore legal in most countries - so we can nearly openly talk about them :)

The (initial, at least) interest of some traditionally TI-oriented tinkerers for the Prime is clearly partially a consequence of TI Education Technology's continued mishandling of the Nspire series, which makes the calculator less useful for users and increases the likelihood of attacks on TI's business model (thereby prompting more boneheadedness from TI EdTech management, it's a negative spiral).


Several weeks or months is the usual average timeframe for Linux becoming available on any given platform.

With full documentation and full time work on it this is a very reasonable time frame -- possibly a bit high even given past experience doing this kind of thing. Reducing either the documentation or time invested will increase the time to port. That Linux already supports the CPU is quite a boost however. Not knowing much about the hardware isn't so nice though. Reverse engineering can be slow and painful. Asking HP for some internal details is another path to maybe speed things up.

The big question that comes to mind, however, is why? Linux on a calculator is more than a bit of overkill. Sure, you gain drivers for the various hardware bits but there are plenty of overheads even using an older kernel. I guess you'd also get a jump start on the mathematical software using octave, maxima or similar. Still it seems like a that was fun to do thing.

- Pauli


small ot note: i have tried to fix the source for "Tim Wessman, 30 July 2013, 9:42 p.m. - On HP-Museum", but google doesn't help and the archived list on Hpmuseum is not so usable :(

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