What do you think about HP calculator development?



#2

Hi People:

I like to get a topic to discuss.

Since 2003, HP resumes to release new updates on its calculator line like the release of 12c Platinum (incl. 25th Anniversary Edition), 17bII+, 33s, 35s, 49G and 50G etc.

Up to now, HP has already released major updates on its calculators line.

In 2008, which current models should have a re-design? What new features should included if such models have a re-design?

Which legendary models should be re-released with upgrade? No matter as a special edition or as a new product. What kind of upgrade do you want?

Here are my own opinion. I use HP financial calculators. I have a silver 17bII+ for work. If HP further upgrade 17bII+, I hope HP can add MIRR function, improving the speed of HP SOLVE and Unit Conversion. The Printing Function on 17bII+ should enable users to print its result to a PC's inkjet or Laser printer. This will make 17bII+'s amortization table function more useful.

I also have a 12c Platinum 25th Anniversary Edition. I use it for public examination. 12c series is a legendary design. But for 12c platinum, I hope that HP can make display's font bolder like 12c. It will make the numbers look better.

Hope to see you to say what you think on this topic. Thank you.


#3

No doubt the simplicity of the financial calculators have a market.
I see many 12C calcs at auction. What I miss is the beginners calculator for non-mathmaticians and students. I hate to have a whole generation thinking textbook algebraic for simple problems.
As to conversions, I think it sad that people can't figure out degrees f and c, or inches and cms. I think the 50G is a bridge too far. Unless it is exernally programmed it is purely for mathmaticians. Again I see many at auction at lower prices. I think HP has left their roots with algebraic lower end calcs, I feel It makes math harder for kids. I know I found solutions with RPN I never would have found with algebraic. I was in from the beginning. Sam


#4

Quote:
No doubt the simplicity of the financial calculators have a market.
I see many 12C calcs at auction. What I miss is the beginners calculator for non-mathmaticians and students.

And engineers like me too.
I rarely need nor use an advanced programmable calculator.
Just a really professional looking, small and functional scientific calculator for me thanks.

Dave.

#5

Quote:
No doubt the simplicity of the financial calculators have a market.
I see many 12C calcs at auction. What I miss is the beginners calculator for non-mathmaticians and students. I hate to have a whole generation thinking textbook algebraic for simple problems.
As to conversions, I think it sad that people can't figure out degrees f and c, or inches and cms. I think the 50G is a bridge too far. Unless it is exernally programmed it is purely for mathmaticians. Again I see many at auction at lower prices. I think HP has left their roots with algebraic lower end calcs, I feel It makes math harder for kids. I know I found solutions with RPN I never would have found with algebraic. I was in from the beginning. Sam

Sam:

Agreed with your point. HP abandoned this market since the discontinuation of HP 20S. There's no real sucessor to 20S since then.

During my high school days, HP 20S is the most complete scientific calculator, which is programmable, has built-in functions and is ALLOWABLE to be used in public examination.

Walter


Edited: 15 Apr 2008, 1:51 a.m.

#6

There clearly is room for incremental improvements, but that can only take them so far. In my opinion the best utilization of their scarce in-house calculator R&D resources would be on fundamentally new calculator designs. Obviously there should still be some leveraging of earlier designs, but I mean that the new designs need to be different to a greater extent than rearranging the keys, changing the colors, and tacking a few new features onto an existing design.

Relatively minor design changes should just be outsourced.

#7

IMHO, there may be 3 lines of progress:

  1. a "beginner's calc" to implant RPN in the brains of newbies,
  2. some incremental development based on the models known so far,
  3. something revolutionary as Eric mentioned.
Given the markets and competition as they are, a calc of type 1 must not be too simple. Why should anybody buy an expensive RPN calc if this person can get the same calculating power or more for less money elsewhere? And the benefits of RPN will not even have a chance to show up if this calc is not bought.

Given the manpower dedicated to calc R&D at HP, though the individuals are very capable for sure, I doubt the capacity will be sufficient to invent something revolutionary (type 3), i.e. something which really helps the user *a lot* more than a classic calculator.

For the time being and with the constraints given, IMHO the best opportunities available for HP calc development are offered by the middle path (type 2). Not that I would not welcome a type 3 or 1 showing up, too, but if I must focus limited resources on one development line, line 2 is the one I'd choose.

#8

What I'd like to see is HP-42S with 1 GB memory, mini SD card, 4 line display and alpha-keyboard hardware-like and equation writer added; Walter has some renderings here IIRC called HP-45

Cheers,
Reth


#9

I'd be happy with a HP42S. On sale again. Period.

The 20-year old HP42S is so much more capable than the ill-conceived HP35S, especially for complex number arithmetic. One wonders why the functionality of the HP42S wasn't used as the starting point of the HP35S design.

But, if I could wish for more, then I'd want in order of importance:

1. HP42S capability, size, and layout, keeping RPN (not RPL);
2. Add HP17BII+ features, including clock/calendar;
3. Add at least 32 kBytes RAM;
4. Add four-line display;
5. Add mini-SD card I/O;
6. Change color/key styling from the puke-Pioneer style to something more professional and less left-coast artsy-crowd style, something similar to the Classic or Voyager lines (but avoiding the impractical for handheld use Voyager landscape arrangement).

The only significant technical problem, IMO, would be item 5. How practical is it to write to a mini-SD card when only small watch batteries or button cells are powering the calculator?

Mike


#10

I second that (or maybe just 1.5), specifically:

HP42S as-is, except: nicer color scheme, 32k memory, clock.

The first two could be done with almost zero development cost, since changing the color scheme just involves changing the ink/paint/pigment colors, and a 32k RAM chip already works in the 42s (except that the particular chip that works is no longer manufactured).

The clock would require additional hardware, so if that were to decide whether HP does or doesn't reintroduce the 42s, leave it out.

Edit: Regarding I/O, instead of an SD card, how about USB? Solves the power problem (the calculator could even be powered by the USB port when it's plugged in).

Stefan

Edited: 14 Apr 2008, 11:48 a.m.


#11

Stefan,
I agree with your post, Verbatim. Well put!

#12

HP-42S with more memory and some kind of I/O to get working programs in and our work backed up. It would also allow for easier developement externally, say on a PC.

A clock would be a plus, with associated alarms, and reminders.

#13

You know what I'd like to see? A 12c and 17bii+ with a mini-USB port and PC development software.

#14

Quote:
In 2008, which current models should have a re-design? What new features should included if such models have a re-design?
35SII

Hard & software bugs out, P<>R conversions in.


#15

Quote:

35SII

Hard & software bugs out, P<>R conversions in.


I don't think they will release 35SII. They will fix the bugs without any specific notice.


#16

...or, as with the HP-49g+, they will call it "the new HP-36S!" and it will be a revised HP-35S with a different color scheme...

;-)

-- Antonio

#17

I think it is hopeless to think that the current HP manufacturer will ever produce a calculator with the keyboard quality of anything Pioneer or earlier. While it's true they can make them faster and with more memory, I think just refining the current models would be fair enough. You can't get blood out of a turnip! So correcting any bugs and trying to refine the keyboards to the level of the Pioneers, Voyagers, Clamshells, 48- or 41 series would be enough for me.


#18

FYI, there will be at least one article in the upcoming edition of HPCC Datafile (V27N2) covering this topic. Therein will be not only 8 pages of text and tables but also 4 high res pictures showing some opportunities for refinement of models like the 42S, 35s, 17bii+ Silver and more. For those of you who want to promote something good like the HP Handheld & Portable Computers Club and/or want to read (most times) real good stuff written by keepers of the keys and math wizards like (in alphabetical order) Valentin Albillo, Wlodek You-know-who, Jake Schwartz, Hugh Steers, Bill Wickes, and many more outstanding experts I cannot list here all every 8 weeks at least, it is as easy as subscribing :)

(Sorry Dave, I should have posted this in the ad section ;)

#19

A high quality clamshell 17B II clone with a good keyboard and small enough to fit in my shirt pocket (which always sports a small notepad, pens and my reading glasses). This is not an impossible task....I do carry an Aurora FN1000 in my shirt pocket every day. The FN1000 is a 12C clone and despite the mushy keypad, it is very nice calculator. The clamshell is the deal-maker for me, as my work is in a very dusty environment. That said, there probably aren't many banker types that work in the field.


Don

#20

Quote:
I think it is hopeless to think that the current HP manufacturer will ever produce a calculator with the keyboard quality of anything Pioneer or earlier.

Exactly. That's why, after trying the 35s for a while, I just decided to buy a few more used Pioneers (hedging against their eventual failure) and be content with using them for the rest of my career.


#21

I'm extremely satisfied with my HP35S keys. One reason I waited some time to order it, to give them time to solve some manufacturing or design problems. When keying it I am reminded of stroking velvet, soft but distinct click feeling. The 50G keys on a recent one are firmer, still good quality. I had not anticipated the early failure of my 32S and bought the 32S11 as a replacement. Now fearing it might fail too I thought about a replacement but opted for the 33S which has a direct SOLVE action and due to their awkward case and bizarre appearance auction at a low premium. Sam

#22

I must admit that my comments were based on earlier releases of the 12CP (about three samples), a couple 33S samples, and one 17BII+. My 49G+ key problem was solved by the flash "upgrade," but I didn't have this for the other models. This was all 2-3 years ago. Now just within one week I order a new 12CP Anniversary model and a 35S and I am surprised to say that the keys on both of these, IMO, are exceptional. In fact, they are nearly as good as on my 41CV which I bought new (NOS) a few years ago. (However, my 12CP had a warped case and I had to return it.)

#23

Personally, I'd like a 20S-equivalent with a USB port and a built-in calendar that I can sync with my PC. (And I don't use Microsoft LookOut, I use Oracle Calendar.) My mobile phone doesn't cut it as a scheduling device and I don't need or want to carry a Dilbert-like utility belf full of devices. PDAs have never cut it for me and my 200LX, while very good in its day, never synced conveniently with Windows. It was of and for the DOS world.


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