Could wp34s influence HP to offer 30b in different firmwares?


This is not meant to take away from all the work and enthusiasm about the WP34s. What if HP joined in the fun this way:

What if HP were to offer something like the 30b in three versions: (1) the HP business professional version, (2) the HP scientific version, and (3) entrepreneur generated special versions, all with catchier marketable names and keyboard overlays. The point being HP recognize - for profit - the same hardware platform be used to satisfy more than one market niche? Might that reduce HP's development cost and garner more features and benefits to the community?

Instead of software modules the entire calculator could be performance tuned for different purposes, e.g., surveying, construction, celestial navigation (kidding). An entrepreneur preferring the key layout of the 12C might put out a version with a re-organized key layout. Schools could maintain a collection of firmwares and overlays for different coursework. The imagination takes flight.

It's almost 4am and my eyes are burning. I've read through a ton of entertaining threads tonight. I love this forum!


Edited: 4 Oct 2011, 4:18 a.m.


Key labeling is the point. The current hardware isn't friendly to legends above or below the keys. It's a matter of case production (HP told me they will never ever use the same case molding technique again.)

The current WP 34S firmware will not be flashed into a commercial product. The license (GPL) needs to be adhered to (easy, just put the source code on a CD and sell the calculator together with the cable) but the firmware isn't "production friendly" because it does not contain a self-test, may still be buggy, depletes the batteries, etc., etc.

Writing custom solutions is possible but the effort is huge as can be seen with our project. Cyrille's SDK could be a base for this and was conceived with just this idea in mind.


The 34S doesn't use HP's maths library which seemed to be an issue when I raised the possibility a while back. RPN only might be one as well.

The GPL license isn't necessarily a sticking point. We, the authors, are quite at liberty to license the software under different terms as well. I would be very attentive to an approach by someone wanting to put the device into commercial production.

The "production friendly" comments are definitely applicable. I expect we could work around these if required. For example, preloaded keystroke programs or a factory test image that ends up reflashing the device via serial with the real image.

Finally, the effort to write firmware can be greatly reduced if a sensible calculator framework is already written and debugged. e.g. have the power management, the keyboard state machine, the display driver and fonts all written. Add in a number of common numeric functions and the function dispatching and stack management code. The custom solution then ends up more of an exercise in tweaking the keyboard and screen code and adding missing pieces of functionality. However, even given all this it is still going to be a lot of work getting things just right.

- Pauli


I was actually wondering if HP could provide the hp20b/30b ingredients in a kit form, like good old Heathkit or Japan's Gaekken kits (
HP can certainly write a most complete assembly instruction book I am sure.

PCB assembly with LCD already attached
top case
bottom case
programming cable
CD with firmware
a thick instruction manual.
batteries included


I don't know for sure, but according to my observations the times of such kinds of assembly kits are gone. Most members of the target market seem to have more money than time nowadays. Add that's it not hip or cool (or whatever term you prefer) for many people anymore to assemble their own equipment - so called "professional solutions" sell better, though their quality may not justify it in every case. Thus I doubt there will be something like a set of assembly kits you describe.

Just my 20m€


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