HP50G early days vs Prime early days?


I wans't there when the HP50G was launched ... but I was thinking

Did the HP50G have a similar amount of glitches to the prime in early firmware?

(Note: I didn't say the Prime had a lot or a few ;-), and yes of course I concede, something new like this will always have 'problems' to one extent or another)
Just interested


If you take the 49g+ (the golden one) for an early 50G I'd say yes. It used to have serious hardware problems especially with the keyboard. The 50G then got it right.


I think you really have to go back to the 49g (blue) though which was ever worse. 49g+ was really hardware issues more then software. The 49g blue was near unusable for about 6 months or so due to crashes during basic operations.



If you take the 49g+ (the golden one) for an early 50G I'd say yes. It used to have serious hardware problems especially with the keyboard. The 50G then got it right.

Concur - the early 49g+ was atrocious.


Concur - the early 49g+ was atrocious.

My early HP 49g+ certainly was not...especially after the first available firmware upgrade. The 49+ had more in the way of mechanical rather than firmware deficiencies. Yet...display quality was the best that had ever been seen on an HP calc...much superior to the terrible HP 48-series fuzzy low contrast displays. Got any specific citations of 49g+ firmware atrocity? :-)

Aside from the 49-series firmware, look at the unfortunate HP-48Sx and HP-49Gx series. No one ever mentions that those were up to revision R of the firmware before discontinuance. Plus...it was impossible for the customer to upgrade the firmware short of buying a new calculator that was a whole lot more expensive than the HP Prime is today!

A lot of folks seem to be unaware of actual HP calculator history. I'll take today's HP over any other period in HP's alleged sainted holy days of mythological yesteryear, including 1972 when I used my first HP-35.

Edited: 9 Oct 2013, 7:59 p.m.


I have to disagree with your assessment of Hp calculator history.

In 1972 Hp released THE FIRST scientific pocket calculator. It was the best technology that could be delivered at that time. So Hp set the bar with the Hp 35.

Next Hp released an Hp 45. It had lots more features and was another marvel. Moved the bar higher and was an excellent calculator for its time.

Then came the Hp 65, another breakthrough. A programmable number cruncher that you could still call a pocket calculator, actually the world’s first pocket computer.

The other Hp’s released after these three were not technology leaders, but merely lower priced units with cheaper manufacturing methods that may warrant your scorn. Yes, this is a four-six year span where you are correct, Hp could have done better! And Hp continued to sell LED calculators after 1981 even after the release of the Hp 11c, a clearly superior product (in hindsight).

But Hp really delivered with the follow up, the Hp 41c. An excellent calculator that stayed on the market for 10 years.
The Hp 41c was then followed up with the Hp 10c Voyager series. Technically the last repairable calculators with an excellent build quality.

The follow up Pioneer series were of near equal build quality aside from the clamshell line that was also released. However the clamshells were a new generation of capability and offered rudimentary CAS.

Next came the Hp 48 series. These were the replacements for the Hp 41c series and from a number crunching aspect, far superior. For lab control, their serial port I/O wasn’t equal to the Hp 41c’s I/O ports, so Hp for the first time offered two steps forward, ONE step back. Sadly, this became standard procedure.

I always suspected that the Hp 42s was supposed to be an improvement over the Hp 41c (model number would suggest this), but it was always marketed as an Hp 15c replacement with the ability to run Hp 41c programs. But I sidetrack easily.

The Hp 48 series were an excellent calculator FOR THEIR TIME. Hp had to suffer with their LCD screens initially as that was the best available. Could they have prodded their suppliers for better? Perhaps, but LCD graphing screens weren’t a big market sector so Hp likely had to settle for what they got.

This gets us to the Mid 90’s where Hp quit making any improvements to its line. Ti was taking over the educational market in the early 90’s and was simply kicking everyone’s butt out of the market. Hp released an Hp 38g to counter this. It was a poorly designed calculator. It looked like an RPN model, but wasn’t. And it was ugly! Doomed to failure. Any disparaging remarks directed at Hp are earned.

Hp at the end of the 90’s decided to re-enter the market with a new line, the FHBB Hp49G and the dark royal blue Hp 39G, both with rubber keyboards. These quickly drew the ire of nearly all loyal Hp calculator users. Slow and poor ergonomics. These didn’t stay on the market long (for two reasons/ maybe one, but I’d like to believe Hp offered them as a stop gap and were going to offer better. 2nd, and more likely, Hp ran out of York CPU’s and had to offer better!)

Next came the Hp 49G+ and it delivered enough bad / broken keyboards (personal experience with both the 48Gii AND Hp49G+ of nearly the same build times) to have most of us wonder if Hp had forgotten / lost the art of making a great keyboard. Then Hp adopted the Dogbert marketing strategy of changing the color, adding a battery, and increasing the model number by one to offer the NEW Hp 50G! The only real improvement was the keyboard, but that wouldn’t sell or differentiate that pig with lipstick nearly as well (I am being harsh, the Hp 50G is an excellent calculator, but truth be told, it had a rough road to get there!)

Today, Hp is offering us a Color model. Probably a necessity to compete in today’s market. I suspect the ENTER key will actually be a negative to the majority of Hp’s market. Most algebraic users want an =/enter key on the lower corner of the calculator (kind of where it is on the Hp 50G). I suspect most Hp 50G user’s use it in algebraic mode. We just don’t interact with that user group as they use only a small portion of the Hp 50G features.

So to summarize, Hp really only let us down in the late 70’s and for the first six to eight years of the 21st century.


The HP49G+ Hardware-BUG, which was that the serial port does not work well with some PCS


The 50g was pretty much perfect when it came out, but that's because it was really just a slightly-updated 49g+.

The 49g+ had some terrible hardware problems when it came out, but its software was largely OK, with the exception of the large screen still being a bit of a hack and the underlying OS having some issues. But again, it was basically just an evolution of the 49G on new hardware.

The 49G was a disaster when it came out. Hardware was awful (rainbow screen cover, bad keys) and software was so buggy that it was almost unusable. And that was still just an evolution of the 48GX software, plus some third party apps. I did a lot of beta testing of the 49G and I reported hundreds of bugs over just a half year or so, and it still wasn't enough for it to be good at release.


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