Color Display?



#14

With the new Casio Prizm and TI Inspire CX boasting a color display, can we expect HP to come up soon with their color display machine?


#15

There's probably now way around it if HP wants to stay in the game. That was one aspect mentioned in "The Next Big Thing" thread (http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv021.cgi?read=227324#227324). The reply (in that thread) from Walter B looks like a great starting point.


#16

Quote:
There's probably now way around it if HP wants to stay in the game.

It seems to depend on what game you're interested to play
in the current market.

Adding a color-able display to a design isn't much of a
cost issue in and of itself, but it sets the prospect
on a slippery slope.

A transmissive, back lit color display requires a substantially
higher current source to accommodate the backlight
and the RGB controller.
So as a practical and economic concession rechargeable secondary
cells enter the design.
Even given the energy density available in contemporary
lithium, etc.. secondary cells, this is a sizeable envelope to
accommodate in the enclosure. Aside from that we have now
added periodic feeding of the rechargeable cell into the
usage model for the device which is a significant departure from
the unattended years of quiescent battery life available
from established predecessors.

And it doesn't make too much sense to incorporate
a color display into a
design without the corresponding computational power to do it
justice. So here an increase in processor power is a likely
inclusion which inflicts its own toll on
the current consumption budget.

And if we've come this far, what have we engineered other than
a repackaged cell phone with a customized calculator keyboard?
While I don't doubt there is some market for such a product,
it isn't going to enjoy the volume of either cell phones,
media players, or at the familiar end of the spectrum:
use-and-drop calculators rendering to
monochrome segment/graphic displays and feeding from
replace-every-ten-years primary cells.

Aside from all that it is unclear
if a self-illuminated display is warranted given mainstream
target usage for such a device as it arguably is
for cell phone and media players. I'm sure some here
believe interaction with a calc as a solitary activity
under arbitrary conditions
is valid use case. But I expect more often it is a tool
supporting another activity already being
performed under ambient illumination -- including direct
sunlight where a back lit transmissive display is nearly
unusable.

I'd defer the assessment of such a product to the
folks projecting sales volume in their market pyramid
strata of interest.
The required engineering components have been
available entirely off the shelf for at least a decade.


#17

I think most of the negatives you mention fly out the window when you look at the competition. And we've reached the point where the input from so-called "analyists" has nearly immobilized innovation in many cases. Look at where the HP-35 came from, a 9100 that fits in your pocket! Not much analysis there! And look at the results! They took a chance based mostly on gut instinct and changed the world. We need more of that, not less.

A possibly reasonable alternative might be an advanced greyscale display with high resolution, pan and zoom capability (haptic?), 3D capability and some way to easily identify overlaping traces. Or something along thoses lines. I do think the display should be large enough to allow simultaneous plotting and equations/programs.

FWIW, I still use and adore my small collection (HP-35, 20S, 28C and 97S) despite the frequent recharging and maintenance. The power-density of battery packs for portable devices has increased dramatically in recent years so I don't really see power as the primary issue.

Edited: 2 Aug 2012, 5:59 p.m.


#18

Quote:
I think most of the negatives you mention fly out the window when you look at the competition.

The question is whether their productization effort
has resulted in meaningful ROI. Again this is a
essentially a marketing rather than engineering exercise.

Quote:
Look at where the HP-35 came from, a 9100 that fits in your pocket! Not much analysis there! And look at the results!

The result was a product which didn't exist in comparable
form at that time, and was a legendary engineering
accomplishment.
We have contemporary cell phones of
computational throughput eclipsing nearly any
dedicated pocket calculation device of which I'm aware.
Again the prospect in question is largely a
marketing / repackaging exercise.

Quote:
The power-density of battery packs for portable devices has
increased dramatically in recent years so I don't really see
power as the primary issue.

Power density isn't a problem, though the bulk of the
increased cell envelope may be. Rather the self discharge
characteristics of available solutions don't lend to
a drop-and-forget usage model. Personally I have more
than my share of self discharging electronic devices which
require daily electron feeding. I seriously doubt the
average user would be keen on
adding yet another, particularly a device with the
typical usage duty cycle of a pocket calculator.
You can always find exceptions, however the consumer
electronics industry rarely caters to them.


#19

You are right about the cell phones having apps that make them more powerful than any other calculator on the market. BUT! The Prizm is on sale right now at Wal-Mart for 99$ and the TI Nspire CAS CX is 150$ most places. What does a cellphone cost? 400$ to 1000$ if you get a good one (iPhone, Atrix, Aria). Sure you can get them at steal 'em prices, IF you commit yourself to a 2 year contract, and data rather you want it or not. I don't think cell phones are a valid argument against color HP's. Sure, if you already have a smart phone of that caliber. What about me with my cheap Nokia POS?


#20

Quote:
I don't think cell phones are a valid argument against color HP's.

Given the ubiquitous nature of cell phones,
a prospective color-able dedicated calculator needs competitive
differential in order to be a marketable product. The
engineering and usage concessions acceptable within the mass
market in return for the substantial utility of a cell phone aren't
likely to be welcome for a special purpose calculation device.

If cell phones weren't pervasive, a stronger argument may exist
for such a device. Ironically without the fever of engineering
and manufacturing commerce chasing the cell phone market,
the economical component and manufacturing infrastructure
wouldn't be available for leverage in producing such a device.

In this day and age special purpose (pocket) calculators
continue to retain a market segment due to
price, convenience (use & drop), power minimization,
dedicated purpose (physical keyboard), and commodity
usage restrictions (education). Until a prospective
color-able device fits in these market constraints or offers
a compelling reason for a significant market outside of them,
I don't see a sustainable business case. I'm certain however
the marketing folks continue to search for one.


#21

uhmgawa,
Deep down I know you are right. But, I still don't like it! LOL Anyone that has enough tech savvy, or who is just plain geeky enough to want a color HP, probably already has a cell phone of sufficient capacity to run a very sophisticated app. And I know it would be easier for someone, or some company, to write code for a very sophisticated calculator to run on a variety of phones. They could be updated or expanded through the cloud or PC downloads. It would be a LOT cheaper than designing and building a whole new device. So, I have to concede, you have made your point. But again, I still don't like it. :D

#22

Totally agree. In fact, I wish my phone weren't even color, so I could see it better in bright light. The best ATM at our bank was back in the days when it was a 4-line by 40-character monochrome display that could be easily read even when the sun was shining on that wall an hour or two before sunset. Now they want to make it color to somehow make it more friendly and so they can put up color pictures for advertising, and I don't like it one bit. My wife does, but she knows she's more feeling and less practical. It would really turn me off though to have a color calculator that needs recharging frequently because its display takes too much current to use AAA's or AA's, and then five years later to find out you can't get a replacement battery for it anymore. Occasionally I have a use for color on the oscilloscope to tell multiple jagged traces apart when they cross each other several times; but even that need isn't very frequent.

#23

Quote:
I seriously doubt the average user would be keen on adding yet another, particularly a device with the typical usage duty cycle of a pocket calculator.

I think the average user is a high school student. In the last ten years this average user was raised on things that need daily or at the least weekly charging. Another makes little difference.
#24

Quote:
With the new Casio Prizm and TI Inspire CX boasting a color display, can we expect HP to come up soon with their color display machine?

Hopefully.

#25

Who knows, but I don't really care, my phone has a color screen and I can put any calculator on it.

My phone doesn't have a long battery life though. And neither does a calculator with a color screen.

Plain grey LCD calculators are pretty useful.


#26

I routinely use my Nspire 3-5 hours a day for over a week w/o having to recharge. I always considered the battery life of that machine to be excellent!


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