OT: 4.1 Billion Mobile Phones and Counting.



#2

What this means is that the device most people will likely use and rely on in the future will be the cell phone, above all else. -- http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/03/report-60-of-wo.html

That's a lot of phones. And I'd wager that each has a primitive calculator (4 banger), possibly making the mobile phone the number one calculator in terms of volume.

My phone of choice is the iPhone.

My iPhone with i41CX+ has become my primary calculator (desktop and on the road). The overlay support, QWERTY entry, printer, I/O, speed, and size of the iPhone w/ i41CX+ outweighs the to-be-missed tactile keyboard of the original.

Free42 for the iPhone is a serious contender, but lacks a few critical features such as I/O and saved printer output. As they become available its going to be hard to pick (but, do I really have too?).

Of course there are Eric's lovely Voyagers. Still my favorite calculators of all time. If I had to rebuild civilization, I'd be with a real 15C and it's 20 year battery life. So, why is i41CX+ my favorite you ask? Because I can use it single handedly with one thumb. With the 15C, I'd have to take my other hand of the steering wheel. (just kidding :-)

I see a bright future for emulators and even original ideas for touch screen phones. E.g. the SpaceTime calculator. It's almost like Mathematica or Maple in your pocket.

Oh, I'll continue to collect and use the real thing, because I want to, because its my passion to make these old things do amazing things. I and suspect that this is true for many here as well.

Edited: 6 Mar 2009, 4:00 p.m.


#3

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I'd wager that each has a primitive calculator (4 banger)

I recently got a new phone, a Motorola, and was astonished to discover that the calculator observed correct algebraic precedence.
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My phone of choice is the iPhone.

To me a phone is a phone, a camera is a camera, and a calculator is a calculator. I deliberately avoid buying phones with excess features.

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Oh, I'll continue to collect and use the real thing, because I want to, because its my passion to make these old things do amazing things. I and suspect that this is true for many here as well.

As for me, I just buy them to use them. That's what they were made for, right?

#4

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To me a phone is a phone, a camera is a camera, and a calculator is a calculator. I deliberately avoid buying phones with excess features.
+1. Some of the integration the consumer electronics industry tries to sell us is about as apetizing as combining the toilet and the food processor into one appliance. Like someone said here recently, "You'd be surprised how much of the product design is done my marketing and not engineering" (or something like that).

#5

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Like someone said here recently, "You'd be surprised how much of the product design is done my marketing and not engineering."


Try close to 100%, In the big companies particularly. And since the big guys dominate in terms of volume, that means nearly 100% of available products are designed primarily by marketing departments. Naturally, the resulting design has to have some engineering input, but that doesn't mean engineering will drive the process. In my opinion the best we can hope for out of the big companies in this regard is enlightened self interest. Some may believe that engineering quality will translate to market success. But although that works in some segments, (think Apple vs Dell) as Walmart shows us, often the very opposite is the path to commercial success.

Walmart forces its suppliers to strip products to their essentials. The innovations that make the products cost less are often ones that also reduce quality in some respect. Or else the innovation is in packaging that makes the product cheaper to sell, and does nothing for quality. Walmart is doing very well during this downturn since low prices are more attractive than ever now. But I'm guessing their leverage with their suppliers will go down as more and more of them face tough choices in the struggle to survive.

I'd also like to think that if the consumer credit binge is slowed if not stopped by the current economic crisis, consumers will be more wary of manipulative marketing and more conscious of value beyond mere price. My mother and father were extremely frugal, both being children of the depression era. Perhaps another generation of tough customers will emerge from this disaster. But betting on a change in consumerism might be foolish.

Microproduction may help as well. As others have noted, the new 12C, with flashable software, allows smaller markets to be addressed more economically. Yes, some production and marketing costs aren't affected by the common platform, but many are, and the overall effect is to reduce costs and allow more targeted design. Smaller markets may mean that more engineering attention will have to be paid to demands for quality. The postulated new 15C will be of higher quality for people like me when compared to the 12C on the same hardware, because its software will be superior for the targeted market segment.

Regards,

Howard

#6

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To me a phone is a phone, a camera is a camera, and a calculator is a calculator. I deliberately avoid buying phones with excess features.

But what about your PDA? I do not have a single colleague or acquaintance that still owns and uses a PDA (I was the last holdout). They have merged with the phone to create a better solution. Most people I know used a calculator in school, but just use the one on their phones or laptops. Convergence happens. The next generation expects and demands it. Good luck finding lotech phones, it gets harder and harder. E.g. my colleagues that work with the US Government. Finding phones without cameras is getting harder and harder. Of, course the same is true for laptops with embedded cameras.

I am happy that on my travels I no longer have a phone, PDA, and calculator. Having one device makes my life easier. But I draw the line at the camera. Phone cameras blow (at least for now).

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As for me, I just buy them to use them. That's what they were made for, right?

As did I when I used them more frequently. But many calculator functions have been replaced with more powerful alternatives. i.e. the computer. My 15C was my first "computer", I still have it, but often need to find reasons to use it. And given how rare good calculators are I try to avoid traveling with them.

#7

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But what about your PDA?

What's a PDA? (Seriously, I do know what one is, but I don't have any use for one. I do keep a small notebook in my truck, and I always have matching Zebra pen and mechanical pencil in my shirt pocket).
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But many calculator functions have been replaced with more powerful alternatives. i.e. the computer.

For the calculations I use a calculator for, the computer would be extremely cumbersome. In other words, in these cases the calculator is not a poor substitute for a computer, rather it is superior. On the other hand, I do use a computer for most final design calculations. One exception was a particular design problem for which I found a freeware HP48 program, but could not find a computer program for!

#8

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What's a PDA? (Seriously, I do know what one is, but I don't have any use for one. I do keep a small notebook in my truck, and I always have matching Zebra pen and mechanical pencil in my shirt pocket).

For making notes, a plain old paper notebook is indeed superior to a PDA, and for an appointment calendar and address book, the paper variety is also as good as ever. I do like my PDA for several other reasons, though: it can store passwords securely, and between my job and Internet shopping, I have dozens of those; I can set it to remind me of appointments, which is good because I tend to forget them otherwise; and it can do double duty as a fancy calculator and for playing games -- a few solitaire varieties can be nice if you have some time to kill while waiting at the airport or whatnot.

- Thomas


#9

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I can set it to remind me of appointments
I use my 41cx for that. Every time I turn it on, it checks the date and looks in the DAYTIMR text file to see if it's supposed to remind me of anything. If not, it will display how long 'til the next alarm is due, and if there are no alarms pending, it just displays time and date.
#10

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To me a phone is a phone, a camera is a camera, and a calculator is a calculator. I deliberately avoid buying phones with excess features.

But sometimes the excess features are hard to avoid! I bought an iPod touch because it was the best hand-held web surfing device I could find (better than the Nokia tablets, as far as I'm concerned)... I didn't want the MP3 player, YouTube player, and general-purpose application platform functionalities, but now that I have them, I do find myself using them, rather a lot.

Be careful, the drug pushers are fiendishly clever. ;-)

- Thomas


#11

In my own smartphone debate I settled on the Blackberry Curve 8900, since the device and usage costs over time will be considerably cheaper than the iPhone for what I am looking for. I think it is a superior communications and organizational tool, but it is weak as a media player or web surfer. However, I still use the built in browser frequently, particularly for sites like Facebook that have faster loading mobile versions, and I have downsampled quite a few mp4 videos for easy playback on the smaller screen. My iPod touch has gathered dust for a few days now. Funny how that works out.

#12

I fully agree. I use free 42 and the 15c emulator on my iPhone, but the 41cx emulator is almost uncanny with its actual key-click sounds and printer sound effects. And Spacetime has fulfilled my dream of having a CAS in my pocket. But the best part of these hp emulators is that they are cheaper than 810 bucks .

On a side note, rumors on this forum have it that HP may bring back the 15c this year, and one supporting piece of evidence is HP's apparent reclaiming of their rights to nonpareil's Voyager emulations. Yet the iPhone 15c is still available. Any ideas why HP would let this slide?

Even though I have the 15c emulator on my iPhone I would buy the real thing in a heartbeat (provided it costs considerably less than $810.00). These emulators are teasers for the real thing!

#13

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So, why is i41CX+ my favorite you ask? Because I can use it single handedly with one thumb.

I loved my 29C because I could use it one-thumbed. It's a great feature that I haven't seen since from HP or anyone else (although I haven't paid nearly as much attention to calculators as most forum members have.

It would be hard to make a graphing calculator that could be used that way, but I think a scientific calculator like this would be great. It also means that it could fit in your pocket easily.

Dave


#14

Indeed. The Woodstocks like your HP-29C were the best hand-held and shirt-pocket calculators HP ever made. Yes, the Voyagers like my HP-15C were thinner and lighter, but their sideways layout made one-handed use impossible and two-handed difficult. In fact, I've always thought of the Voyagers as the smallest desktop calculators HP ever made. So, what is my calculator of choice when I'm out shopping at the supermarket figuring out unit costs etc? Why, it's my trusty old HP-21, with its battery pack retrofitted with a pair of 2500 mAH AA NiMH cells, which last for a month's worth of shopping on a charge (I charge them outside the calculator to prevent damaging it). Another benefit is its LED display, which is visible in poor lighting conditions.

And sure, I also have a basic flip-up cell phone with the blasted camera that keeps turning on accidentally and running down the battery.

Michael


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