The HP 50G could have been given a large ENTER key


I recently purchased an HP50G (waiting for it to arrive). I know this topic has been beaten to death, and I am aware of some of the reasons for the ENTER key being placed where it is include:

- the need to be able to enter in letters and press the arrow keys simultaneously (K, P, Q, and R on the HP48 series were tied to the arrows keys); having a larger ENTER key meant losing one of the regular keys

- similarity to other graphic calculators (e.g. TI has its ENTER key in the same position)

While the second reason seems silly to me, I have to wonder why they made the keys on rows 4 through 6 slightly wider than the first 3 rows. The HP48 calculators only had "large" keys for the numbers, shifts, and four basic operations +, -, *, and /. The other keys were all smaller width. It seems to me that had rows 4 through 6 on the HP50 used keys with the same widths as rows 1 through 3, they could have fit 3 more buttons per row. Or this could translate to 2 more new keys and a large ENTER.

I wonder if the design was limited by the number of address lines connected to the CPU...


If HP would have put six proper keys in that space(as in the 48 series), instead of those 4 silly buttons, they could have had up to 18 keyboard functions in that same real estate that the 50G now has only 4. With my 48gx, I've never had a problem with the arrow keys also being alpha keys. Of much more significance to me is that the divide key is NOT also an alpha key on the 48, whereas it is on the 50G.

The large, centrally placed enter key was not only HP's trademark, it was part of a very well thought out keyboard scheme that dates back to the original HP35. It epitomized the superior design for which HP was known. It's size and placement make it easy to get to and hit with a thumb or finger of either hand. Why HP choose to abandon it with the 49g/50G is beyond me.

I still like my 50G very much, but it would be that much better with a proper "HP" keyboard layout.

Best regards, Hal



Yes, this has been mentioned before. Just because the 49G in 1999 had the ENTER in the lower right corner didn't mean that it was a precedent which needed to be retained. It seemed that HP was getting the message when the 35S returned the ENTER to its original place from where it had been moved on the 33S. Back at HHC2004 in San Jose, I proposed this "hack" as an alternate key layout the HP49G+, with ENTER keys in BOTH places a la Hydrix' Qonos:

Unfortunately, when the 50G appeared two years later, they were still not doing keyboard changes in the graphing line to please the HP "traditionalists".

Jake Schwartz

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