Voyager Platform for the 21st Century



#26

I realized that some of the slider phones have the same number of keys as a the voyager calculators. So, this type of hardware exists with keyboard and graphical touch screen (and camera and data storage/transfer) already!

Perhaps this is possible :-)

Edited: 24 Feb 2011, 8:19 a.m.


#27

When you buy a smartphone for $200, you're really paying $600, of which $400 comes from your 2 year service commitment. Given that when you buy a calculator, you're not commmitting to a monthly service, are you going to be willing to pay $500 for a calculator?

In the 1970s, programmable calculators sold for more than the equivalent of $500 in 2011 dollars, but I think few people would be willing to do that now.


#28

On TAS you can get a Samsung SPH Exclaim M550 for under $30.00 I just don't know how to develop for these things or I'd give it a try.

#29

Eric, agreed! Besides Free42 on my Nokia N900 is fairly usable! ;)

A 21st Century Voyager, IMHO, is if the 15C functionality can be packaged intp the HP12C Arm variant.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/34NlOdKEPtDb9CtaSUqTeQ?feat=directlink


#30

I use Free42 and i41CX+ and M48 and i48 and HP15C on my iPhone but without real keys they all fall short for me.

I just thought with the 15C seeming to be the most requested bring back and all the other requests for I/O connectivity and color and storage and real keys that hacking a slider phone could be a very neat way to realize many of the wants / desires expressed online.

Seeing as how kids are so into phones, it might also pique some interest amongst the youngin's to have the "cool calculator" instead of the big TI brick.

Hey, doesn't HP own a smart phone company????? Can you say synnergy (apparently I can say it but I can't spell it)


#31

Quote:
Hey, doesn't HP own a smart phone company?????

Yes, they have acquired Palm.
#32

Quote:
I just thought with the 15C seeming to be the most requested bring back...

Among most of those familiar with both the HP 42S and the HP-15C, it is likely that the 42S is the most desired for resurrection, especially in view of HP's decision to never again produce such a capable model for fear that it would adversely impact their top-scale calculator sales.

The 42S doesn't require as many keys either.

But both the 42S and the 15C grossly fail the logical requirement that the ENTER key be in the same column as the /*-+ keys (preferably above them). The Voyager is the HP model that first broke this rule. In some arbitrary exercise of style over substance, without any technical justification, all subsequent HPs except the 49/50 series continue to violate it thirty years later. (Sadly, the 49/50 series puts it below the /*-+ keys).

The Voyager model is really a very poor design for the "21st Century". Let it sleep, except amongst non-technical finance types who can't be educated that HP has an excellent product (HP 30b) for much less money that has tremendously more advanced capabilities.

Edited: 24 Feb 2011, 9:18 p.m.


#33

I figured that 15c comment would open up a can of worms (or at least your can ;/\} )

I would never want just a 15C ported to a graphical color device. I would like to have a regular 15C because now I collect but I don't think I could ever use it for everyday work. I'll spend my money on a 41CX before I'll spend it on a 15C.

My point is that there are many many possibilities with modern hardware that bear looking at for the people that think about new calculator designs. And there are platforms where these things could be prototyped and tested available today.

Would it be useful/useable? I don't know but I'd like to give something like that a spin for a few weeks.

#34

Quote:
Among most of those familiar with both the HP 42S and the HP-15C, it is likely that the 42S is the most desired for resurrection,

why? Neither one had I/O to store and load programs or data. That's why I didn't buy a 42s then and probably wouldn't buy a new issue. (I bought my 15c in 1982.) Today the capabilities of both the 42s could easily be implemented along with those of the 15c in a single new calculator in either portrait or landscape, and personally I'd strongly prefer more keys, and slightly prefer landscape.

Quote:
The Voyager model is really a very poor design for the "21st Century".

Because of the layout? Or because the ancient display or custom processor is so limited?

The 7segment display was the only problem I ever had with my 15c. I'd accept a speedup like the new 12c even at the cost of battery life, but faster isn't important to me. I would insist on a more capable display, and that is the _only_ reason I'd rather have a 42s.

If for the layout, I very much disagree. Further, the limited keys on the 42s is a problem. The only reason I'd give up keys is to get more area for a display. The horizontal form factor works great with the centered ENTER, and it enables a wider display for longer-length lines than would be practical in a portrait layout. Longer lines aren't needed for numbers, but they are really handy for text!

And the final criteria is price. A new 15c functionally equivalent to the old one should sell for a 20b-like price, or less. At that price I'd buy at least 3, probably 6+, and have them everywhere. (I'm not going to carry a calculator.)

Slightly more expensive to get a better display might enable much sophisticated software. But much more expensive, even with more features, I wouldn't buy as many... Would more features and/or a different layout appeal to enough more people to make more sales overall? Don't know. And it appears at least thus far, HP doesn't believe it would be sufficient.

#35

I think Norman means developing an app for a used phone.

#36

Quote:
In the 1970s, programmable calculators sold for more than the equivalent of $500 in 2011 dollars, but I think few people would be willing to do that now.
They would work for decades too. My son's smart phone has serious problems after less than two years.

#37

RohHS makes these modern devices junk. The solder joints contain no lead. They will fail.

Everything new is junk.


#38

Bill,

Quote:
RohHS makes these modern devices junk.

Assume you meant RoHS. OTOH, however, IoHS makes our grandchildren junk :-( It's (y)our choice.

#39

what is IoHS?


#40

Hmmmh, if RoHS means Reduction of Hazardous Substances, then IoHS could mean Increase ... , couldn't it?

Some fantasy is requested sometimes even from people spreading abbreviations. Please note such strange stuff is hard to decode for readers not familiar with the specific topic or the language or both. It's even worse if mistyped. So I strived for beating you at your own game. But I made it really easy for you employing your language and spelling correctly d8-)

Edited to correct a typo in a foreign language.

Edited: 25 Feb 2011, 10:17 a.m.

#41

Quote:
Assume you meant RoHS. OTOH, however, IoHS makes our grandchildren junk :-( It's (y)our choice.
Is IoHS "inclusion of hazardous substances"? We live just a few miles from a dump that's nearly full. It has many decades of electronics waste in it. We also get the ground water report every year, and the lead content is around an eighth of the action level, and yet the dump is not one of the suspected sources, but errosion of natural deposits is. Even before RoHS, the electronics industry used very little lead compared to the vehicle-battery industry, yet the latter is RoHS-exempt. Politics as usual, not helping anyone except those who've found a way to make a lot of money pushing through a new law. Our company is still using lead in our soldering. We say the European market isn't worth converting.

Edited: 25 Feb 2011, 12:14 p.m.


#42

Quote:
Is IoHS "inclusion of hazardous substances"?

No, Sir. Please read what was written earlier.
Quote:
Even before RoHS, the electronics industry used very little lead compared to the vehicle-battery industry, yet the latter is RoHS-exempt. Politics as usual, not helping anyone except those who've found a way to make a lot of money pushing through a new law.
In democracies, the respective "démos" usually gets the legislation it earns d;-)
Quote:
Our company is still using lead in our soldering. We say the European market isn't worth converting.
Thanks. Helps promoting our business d8-)

Edited: 25 Feb 2011, 12:53 p.m.

#43

I should have added that I grew up in another country where we drank water from lead pipes, and yet of the kids that went to the same boarding school with me, an unusually high percentage became doctors, engineers, and scientists. Brain damaged from lead? I don't think so.


#44

Garth, it depends on whether the lead goes into the water or not. If the interior of the pipes is covered with limescale, the lead is sealed and stays in the pipe. If you have acidic water, things are different.

Hazardous substances in consumer goods tend do end up in a land fill, despite all recycling efforts. Many people either don't care or don't know. Many dumpsites aren't properly sealed against the ground and thus, over the years, a significant amount of these substances end up in the air or in rivers, lakes or ground water. If this can be avoided, it should be avoided.

I agree that it's not a good idea to design consumer goods in a way that they fail or become obsolete only after a few years of service just to avoid saturating the market. This results in more questionable waste being produced over time as if the devices were to stay alive much longer. So a device working for decades and being properly recycled thereafter is advantageous, even if it contains heavy metal in its solder or toxic but durable plastic in the housing.

#45

Quote:
In the 1970s, programmable calculators sold for more than the equivalent of $500 in 2011 dollars, but I think few people would be willing to do that now.

No, actually they sold for the equivalent of $500 in 1970s dollars! (HP-65/67).
#46

Pretty weird how the actual keys are calculator keys, but the reflection in the case is of the top row of a QWERTY keyboard =P


#47

Those are the limits of photoshop ;)


#48

Actually I used Paint.net but same idea. This was a 5 minute job and not made for the cover of BYTE magazine... %^)

#49

here is one option for your hardware:

link to Ben NanoNote website

i believe these units cost something like us$99, and run linux with a 300mhz or thereabouts processor. more than enough for free42, which could then be extended as folks desired to include '48 style functionality in future. and i am quite sure that a customized set of keyboard labelling could be provided for.

i agree with other posters in that lead-free (RoHS) compliant construction dooms any modern electronics items to an early demise. i work in the R&D field, and can confirm it is an absolute nightmare for anything other than consumer-level products that a manufacturer WANTS to fail after a few years. however, there is no reason why silver-based solder should not be considered as an option.


#50

I've got one of these, thanks to Christoph Pulster!

After an update of the firmware (OpenWrt, a special Linux distro) and some tweaking of the setup, the NanoNote runs. But it is of limited use, yet: No wireless ports, only a device USB port. No touchscreen or other pointing device. I couldn't find a suspend mode, the power button seems to turn the device off. Power on causes a cold boot. The application software features kind of a PDA (all in beta). OTOH, it's not meant as a ready to use consumer device, it's an open development platform with complete "copyleft".

With 32MB of RAM and 2 GB NAND flash, the unit has enough horsepower for interesting applications. A powerful calculator might be one. But there is a caveat: The keyboard is a little "special": It's fully alphabetic but uses several shift keys to access special characters and digits. For a calc, the keyboard has to be redesigned not only concerning the legends, but probably mechanically, too, as it is relatively stiff and keys are very narrowly spaced. Without a touchscreen, free42 is not an option, either.

Despite all odds, it's fun to play around with the little beast. Connected to my Mac, it acts like a network device. SSH works out of the box. Editing config files from my mac keyboard is a real timesaver, compared to the tiny local keyboard. I'll investigate further.


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