It's official: RPN scientifics HPs are coming back!


First of all, let me thank the guy here who's got the web page that starts out: "I've lost a friend this week..."

I read that whole page, and towards the bottom, there was a link to leave feedback. The reader was encouraged to let HP know that we are disappointed. So I did that. Below is the correspondence that HP and I have had so far on the matter:

On 05 Mar 2003, I wrote the following:

problem_description : It is terrible that HP gave up their high quality line of scientific RPN calculators. They were legendary for their ruggedness and good design. Now, HP is selling nothing but crap, just like everyone else. Whether the executives at HP know it or not, they have lost a LOT of respect for doing this.

On 06 Mar 2003, I got the following reply:

Hello Jeremy,

There will be a new RPN scientific calculator out by the end of this year. For more info, visit

It is important to us that we answer your question. If you need further assistance, please reply to this message, we will be happy to help you.

HP Consumer e-Support

and today, I wrote the following reply:

Dear Amanda,

I really appreciate your reply. To be honest, I thought it would be lost in the shuffle and ignored.

It is great to hear that HP will have a new RPN scientific calculator by the end of the year. A couple of questions on that:

1. Will it have the hinged keys and rugged construction of the 32SII or will it be in the Casio/TI/Sharp style with cheap, junky keys?

2. Will it have the well thought-out layout and durable construction of the old HPs of yore?

3. Will it be comparable in features to the 32SII? If not, what level will it be at?

Last of all, a personal opinion/suggestion for HP: Bring back the HP 11C or something very similar. People loved that one. Just the right size for a big, geeky pocket, full-featured, and well laid out. If you don't believe that it would be a hit, have a look on eBay and see how much they are going for. It would be an absolute cash cow for HP if they were to supply it alongside all the junky TIs, Casios, etc. Be sure to advertise that it is much more rugged and high quality, because the average Joe doesn't know that. He only knows that it costs twice as much.

Thanks for taking the time, and keep up the good work!


So now that everyone knows this, we can stop driving up the prices on eBay and stop enabling that !@#$# to charge $240 for a 62SII. Personally, I would rather see them sell out of them at a normal price than to try and take advantage of people.



it would indeed be great to have quality units made again.

although i prefer rpn, i like the idea of it being selectable like
on the 17bii. show most people a rpn unit and they'll say, "where's
the equals button" right away. it would be mad to alienate that market.

for me, quality is the main issue. the pioneer design stands out
as the most viable today. it looks like a calculator and it works.
voyagers were nice but some people just dont like their calculators

programmability it another issue. todays trend is to store
formula and solve rather than build loops. keystep programmable
would fail to stick nowdays and i never could get the new
fangled forth-a-like 28/48 to really cook - and it was too slow.

people dont want to pay anymore. of course, a few see the light,
but in general over $50 and you're fighting uphill. your markets
are school kids, who are happy with a $15 casio or sharp, or
engineers who do most of their stuff on their pcs and really
only need a pocket calculator as a pick up and use convenience.

there is another quality issue; the algorithms. hp has always been
the strongest in this area against all competitors. i am still
being impressed today by hp attention to detail in getting the
right answer. the 48 appears to be the last generation containing
all that cleverness. from what ive seen of the new stuff (eg 30s),
the functions are newly implemented and rather untrustworthy.

one idea is to virtualise your ip. there is a definite market
for this. sell a new range of virtual calculators for major
PDAs. my palm pilot is now my calculator i have when out,
otherwise i have to carry yet another gadget.

there's nothing quite like having real buttons though. here's
what i would do. virtualise the ip. take a pioneer style case
and put in a cheap but fast processor (arm or something). run
the very same software kernel as you virtualise, but properly
connected of course. i would buy and run both, also i get to
sw upgrade as it comes out. maybe theres even a
choice of physical cases.


Slightly oftopic, but...

You say that a keystroke programmable wouldn't sell today...

Well, perhaps not in the US.. ;)

Actualy Casio (of all companies) still market advanced programmable (non graphing) scientifics in areas other than the US (Among others the fx-4500PA), and they have even developed new models (fx-3950P)... I haven't used any of these, but they apear quite feature-packed (On par with a 32sii, feature-wise?).

Look at
go to 'Product Information -> Select your area' and chose a region other than the US...



interesting. i wonder how you can get them to the states...I'd like to play with the 4800P and 4500PA.


looks like the fx4500PA has the strange formula style programmability of the fx4000p and fx7000g. this was a weird mix of formula and traditional steps. its not exactly keystroke programming as such. the fx3950p looks like its missing goto and label altogether. this is what happened to the fx5000f. visually similar to the fx4000p but no jumps. that made it much less/more fun to write for.

nevertheless the fx4500pa might be worth getting my hands on.


Why do you guys presume keystroke programmable
wouldn't sell. A calculator is a thing you
push buttons on. You enter things to evaluate
and get an answer. PUSH PUSH PUSH, you push
the buttons. Now then, the classic PRGM/RUN
modes of the HP calculator allow a fellow to
automate those PUSH PUSH PUSH keystrokes.

Now then, we would agree that nobody is going to
build an internet browser or a MATLAB program
out of those push push push keystrokes, BUT,
that's a higher level machine. A nice simple
calculator absolutely SHOULD have natural
PRGM/RUN modes to semi-automate those push-keystrokes.

I am not opposed to super-clever
fancy graphing calculators where you type in
pure algrebra and pure formulas and get it
to graph and solve, BUT, that's a different animal.
Just because somebody invents the chainsaw, doesn't
mean there are no further uses for a handsaw.

HP stopped selling the handsaws, that is the problem,
and not all situations are suitable for the more
complex device. HP has betrayed their customers
and I suggest you don't fall into their errant
mental trap by saying that you don't need
keystroke programmability.


I agree. I would love to have a small programmable RPN. I used Casios when I started programming because they were faster and offered more memory for the dollar. But I love the feel of that old HP quality. I picked up a 42s but even its 7k memory isn't enough to hold all of my surveying routines. But it was built in the 1980's. HP should have no trouble installing even 1MB in a small RPN today.


keystroke programmables not selling well in the US? they are selling well here.

99% of us, hong kong high school students, use casio keystroke programmables. but I am the only one in my school who use a hp 20s, where there were around 1400 students here.

there are around 100000 candidates in open examination candidates every year here. could it be consider as a large market?


Maybe I'm wrong, but if HP was going to continue to develop calculators why would they shutdown their ACO division? To me it's clear the future of HP calcs is Kinpo. Maybe HP can get them to build an RPN, but chances are it won't be of the same quality as the old HP designed models. I guess we'll know by the end of the year if this is just marketing hype or not. For now I'm sticking with my 42s and leaving the Kinpo 9S/G on the WalMart shelf where it belongs!


Thanks for mentioning the name "Kinpo".

I learned something new. That is the chinese
company that HP farmed out the cheap calculators
to. So now HP will simply have them built for $3
each and sell them for $30 each and pocket the

Only problem, calculator is a piece of junk.
You said you wouldn't buy it,
and it belongs on the WALMART SHELF ?????

WRONG! It belongs in the WALMART DUMPSTER.
The big one out back, that has the built-in
pressure jacks. RRRRRRRRRR!!!!!! scrunch
those KINPO calculators. Put them in the
landfill, make a parking lot on top of them.



have you heard about the X-Pander?

About 2.000 of them were hamer-smashed at ACO's parking place, Australia.

Sad story... [=-(



Even if Walmart carried industrial-strength 42S and 41C replacements, I wouldn't buy from them.

Every time you spend a dollar to WalMart, a signficant fraction of that ends up in Red China, funding the Red Chinese military (much of Chinese heavy & low-tech consumer industry is run by military to make it self-funded). WalMart has, de-facto due to rampant imports of cheap goods, become the defacto fundraiser for the Chinese PLA.

I'm disgusted enough at Boeing and Loral for giving 'commercial' satellite technology to Red China which ends up for military uses.

I'll be damned if any $$ of mine end up funding those bastards; I'm not gonna pay for a missle to be lobbed at me, and my fellow Americans. We're selling to them in the vein of Lenin's "hanging them with the rope they sold us."

Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA


Yeah, and significant fraction of other income ends up in charity and not in the US army which throws flower over the world.


>unknown author wrote:
>Yeah, and significant fraction of other income ends
>up in charity and not in the US army which throws
>flower over the world

I notice you're not brave enough to sign your own name. And what you wrote simply is not true: the amount WalMart spends on charity is largely for advertising, and is a minute fraction in comparison with its overall purchases from Red China.

And your rather invidious comparison of the Red Chinese army (with documented cannibalism during the Cultural Revolution) against the US military is rather ludicrous.
China's already making noises about getting more 'respect': who next wants to join its slave labor camps - Taiwan? Singapore?

I don't get the semantics of your reference "throws flower": do you mean "throws flowers" (the pretty plants?) or "throws flour" (the food product?). If the latter, yes, our military has expended tremendous effort in distributing food aid. If you mean the former as some type of (incorrect) symbolism of evil, yes, sometimes we get nasty with people that are trying to kill 3000 of our people and shake up the world economy.

From your writing style, it sounds like you're a European.
You should be grateful we paid to keep your bottom free from Soviet domination for the past 50+ years. GULAGs aren't too pleasant and would certainly interfere with that European go-home-at-4:30pm way of life.

Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA

Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA


To Mr. Bill Wiese and Mr. Unknown:

IMHO, I am just afraid that such discussions may turn this forum into a political discussion, which has nothing to do with the old HP calculators. Unfortunately, there are many such forums around the Internet, quite impolite, with a lot of flames, yelling, etc.

Personnaly, I just do not care about advantages or disadvantages of the US or Chinese political systems. If anybody cares about a (any) Croatian's opinion about present international political issues, it is rather simple: We will do everything to avoid any war, but, if we get involved into one again, we do know how to win it, within the Croatian borders.

BTW, here in Dalmatia (southern Croatia) to return home at 4:30pm after work (like most Europeans do) will be too late in the afternoon for anybody here (regardless of whatever others may think about it).

I just apply that we all respect anybody's points of view expressed here, no matter how different they may be, unless they are expressing incorrect technical details about HP calculators.

Now, let us go back to calculators. HP 9S and HP 9G are a generally a real disappointment. Hope the future will bring some new fresh winds.

Kindest regards from Split, Croatia



I'm 100% sure that our dearest friend and colaborator Bill Wiese will agree with Nenad and let this unknown and anonymous soul to follow his path to freedom.

And life goes on... for us all, who come and stay.

Best and kindest regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


I decided not to post to this forum anymore but now I simply cannot resist ...

I am fully supporting you, Nenad.

You see, both Nenad and I were in the war ... the REAL WAR just a few years ago. And we really don't want to repeat this 'experience' again. I must admit that I haven't seen Mr. Wiese here when we, perhaps, needed his help to 'keep our bottoms free'. If we have waited for his help, we would probably all be dead.

This is a HP calculator forum. If Mr. Wiese has been in the war and want to discuss it, he should find appropriate forum for this. If he hasn't been in the war then he knows nothing about the war and he shoudn't discuss about it at all.

The war is not a game.

To Nenad and Luiz - stay well ...



Thanks for your note on my page. It's amazing the responses I've gotten from that page, from across the world, for what was originally a hour-long rant on my website,

In Texas, we actually have Calculator competitions, in which students perform math and science problems on a calculator. You can see some of these on my page, and I've heard a lot of comments from current and former competitors on this forum. Since the inception of the test, it has been agreed upon that the top calculator for these problems is the RPN calculators that HP made. In fact, the past few years have had every student use the HP-32SII at the state meet. We essentially have a large group of students who are convinced of the superiority of RPN, and who have openly lamented the fact that their calculator is not available.

As a product of these contests in the late eighties (on the HP-11C) I find I can't use the standard Algebraic calculators. Thus (sadly) I am one of the numerous people inflating prices on E-Bay trying to get replacements for my calculators. My students are frustrated trying to get their own HP's (our 32SII's are a class set, 24 of them.) and in lieu of the 32SII's, I'm leading them to some of the older calculators such as the 28S (which I picked up for about $40 with manuals in a lesser-known auction a while back,) among others.

I know at my school, I have about thirty students who are looking for HP's, and are eager for replacements. I know other schools in our state, who compete at the same level, are looking for them in similar numbers.

What's frustrating for me is that for the "new" RPN's I've heard dates from April to December to early 2004. If HP can't even get their own dates straight, will this be another instance of "vaporware" like thier XPander.

What really piques my interest is their Constructive Reals Calculator. Something like this would be a boon if if were an actual handheld (rather than the Java Applet it currently is.) For those who haven't had a chance to see it, you can find it at This algorithm, in a robust hand-held shirt-pocket-sized body is exactly what most of us are looking for, and wouldn't mind paying in the neighborhood of $100-120 for.

My two cents.
Tony David Potter


If a new HP RPN comes out during this year it is a great news, what I whish is a cheap model for kids at school to make them addict of RPN, then it is easy to sell higher models, the second model will have the capabilities and even more (because the technology permit) of the 42 and the design of the 15, pehaps a third graphic model easier to use than the 48, and perhaps some specialised one for example like finance, and all the models whith a documentation of the older models not something like the 49 had, not up to the image that we use to have of HP.


Actually, I think that the 9G would be a pretty sweet HS-level machine, or for kicking around in the backpack -- if only it were RPN... :^/


I'm not going to hold my breath for traditional HP quality and durability. The projected payoff does not apparently seem worth the investment. (I'm sure the spreadsheets reflect this "truth" unanimously, and in abundantly clear terms, given the formulas being used, and the values plugged therein.)

The best I hope for is that they: 1) don't screw up the RPN too badly, and 2) don't expect traditional prices for that RPN in a 30S/9S/9G package.

If we won't have the option of a 42s replacement for ~$120.00, maybe we can buy three "9R's" (or whatever) for $40.00 each . . . In that way, we might at least compensate for the inevitable lack of durability, if not for the lost overall "quality of feel".


But I do not want the agravation of bad keys or having to watch every keystroke. That, Plus RPN, made Hp calculators what they were. Now that Hp offers neither, well???

I wish they would re-release an Hp20s in RPN for less than $30 (algebraic/RPN selectable) and I would buy 3-4 instantly. I really would like a 42s with a serial I/O of the 48 (actually just give me a 48G+ in a 42s sized package with no graphics) and I would be happy (great super deluxe calc w/o graphics). I actually prefer the 42s for complex number crunching and straight forward stats but would give up for the other Hp48g goodies.

I don't beilieve either would cost to much in the way of R&D.


I agree re: rubber keyboards like those ALWAYS found on Casio and Sharp, and maybe even the HP-49G (I haven't ever used one).

But I've said before, the hard plastic keys of the HP-30S are not too shabby. (Nothing like the older HP's, to be sure, but not nearly as bad as is commonly found.) I assume the 9S and 9G are similar.

I'd consider it major progress in today's climate if a reasonably-priced bundle of something like 32s/sii or 42s RPN functionality were made available in a 30S package. (And I'd probably buy several!)


I'm tired of formatting all the >'s out, so I will just paste it in there this time. ;)

This is HPs response to my email of yesterday: (see the root of this thread)

07 Mar 2003

Hello Jeremy,

Unfortunately, we do not have any specific information on the calculators do this year. We have let the engineers know that the 32sii were a very popular calculator. We are hoping that the new calculators will be similar. If you want to keep up with the progress of new calculators, search the following site for "calculator".

It is important to us that we answer your question. If you need further assistance, please reply to this message, we will be happy to help you.

HP Consumer e-Support

(OK, so I'm a softy. I formatted the junk out, though there were no >'s :) -JZ


... to wonder if they borrowed their new mantra from Radio Shack ("You've got questions - we've got answers.") I think it is interesting that in a recent RS advertising campaign - the one with both couples, and some other people, at a party, where slips of paper with the names of manufacturers are falling down from above, one of the names is Hewlett Packard. I don't remember RS ever selling HP stuff before. Of course, it is a sensitive issue for me, since I worked for their in-house computer manufacturing operation until they sold it to AST and then started selling computers from IBM and then Compaq --- I think I just answered my own question: since they have been Compaq dealers they are now HP dealers. On a slightly different topic, has anyone noticed a recent HP ad campaign where they associate the HP name with a number of important efforts around the world using the plus sign to link HP and its customers, then at the end of the ad there is a large equals sign. Does anyone else here feel that ad is an affront to RPN users?

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