HP and their strategy on RPN


HP and their strategy on RPN (and calculators in general)

First I will introduce myself. I am a RPN calculator enthusiastic for many years owning different 12C's, a 48G+ and using different emulators on my PC and Palm Tungsten T5. Power48 is a great emulator compiled in Nov 2004. (http://power48.mobilevoodoo.com)
Reading different articles on www.hpcalc.org on 'HP's Industry departure' ano 2001 I was convinced Hp was walking away and leave us, the RPN fan without new RPN calculator material.
Today I have the impression HP saw things happen (initiatives like OpenRPN, but also the different sites like this one with forum's about RPN) and they changed their strategy !
Even It is via OEM (Kinpo Inc. www.kinpo.com.tw , manufacturer of the 12C Platinum and 33S, isn't it) HP has a lot of initiatives going on. They have the 33S launched, have emulator programs for educational purposes and even have (all published on www.hp.com/calculators) a competition in developing a new model (for students).

Are they really changing their strategy?


Hello Mvdn,

I attended the HHC2004 conference in San Jose where several folks from HP came and listed and also talked. The HP calculator division is a relatively profitable one albeit it small (that is the % profit is small compared to other HP divisions). So HP's resources for developing HP calculators and really sticking it to TI (like in the old days) is very toned down. For example the R&D for the calculator is sparsly populated by relatively few, yet still, enthusiastic and knowledgable folks. I talked to the R&D guy (I think it was Cyril) about my son's idea for the clauclator contest you mentioned. Cyril gave me a very quick and sharp response evaluating my son's idea.

Basically, the HP calculator division is gently trucking along. They no longer hold the same place they did in the 70s and 80s. This is part of progress. I tell my son that as much I love vintage HP calculators, like the 41, today's PCs with applications like Excel, Derive6, MATLAB, MINITAB, SPSS, and the like, run circles around the capabilities of our beloved handheld machines.



Yes, Namir, you are right, but short of carrying an expensive and heavy laptop, I can do most of what I often do in Excel and to a much lighter degree, a little of what the calculational software can do, on a 48G, 48G+, or 49G+. And these last three are quite portable, if not in a regular shirt pocket (I have carried them in a coat pocket).

This, for me is the attraction to powerful calculators: their "compactness to power ratio"- what you CAN do with them for machines their size. I also had two voltmeters; one the size of a 48 or 49 series calculator and one the size of a credit card. Even though the bigger one has more features, better display, etc., I most often use the little one. Besides, the computer is for posting to MoHPC forums, anyway.


And we must remember that the calculators we have today only represent a fraction of what is technically possible. For example I can't see any reason why a calculator couldn't be powerful enough to run Matlab *on* the calculator itself...



Erik, I suppose the only reason would be cost... maybe weight. I love calculators because they are useful mostly for what I need, small, and light.

So, I'd favor a very powerful calculator over carrying a laptop. But I fear that if more and more features or capabilities are loaded onto a calculator, even a Pioneer form factor would get very heavy.


Good point. However, would calculators start using higher quality chips to reduce the calculator size? Probably today's chips can carry a lot more calculations than a chip did in the 1970s.

I would favor a larger calculator over a small one where I couldn't see the screen or touch the keyboard with my "big" fingers.

For the next batch, RPN should be a regular feature in all HP's calculators (including the update to the 38/39G and 6S/9G series) since they are the only brand with RPN built in the box.


Well, think of a Pocket PC, these can carry a 624MHz CPU, 128MB RAM and even a backlit colour VGA display in a very small form factor; so I don't think it necessarily has to be a very big and bulky unit.

Speaking about costs it must of course be made in very large series in order to reach the price/performance ratio of the Pocket PC:s.



What about Qonos?
It has the usual 49G CAS plus the TI-89 CAS

Both calcs are emulated in the CPU level

The memory is static RAM 1/2 MB

The PDA side has 63MB DRAM and Parisse's new Xiac

and MathExplorer plus GnuPlot.



"... The memory is static RAM 1/2 MB... "




A bit off topic, but how do you like your Tungsten T5. I am thinking about upgrading from my original Tungsten T--mainly for more memory and for what appears to be an easier interface between PC and PDA.



... well (off topic) - The Tungsten T5 is great. I also had a Tungsten T (however is was OK the T5 is much better). Of course the bigger screen - no mechnical -opening back to the Palm V (sliding to open). It seems power consumption is very good (much better then the T3 model friend of me own.
And of course with a 1GB SD card in it very handy (work as a USB stick in drive mode).
The Power48 emulator is working well in de full screen mode!
A cradle is no longer standard in het box (that's the only negative point)
It is also very stable. I now have it for 6 weeks and it never crashed (even with older software running)


Still off topic.

I bought my first palm just six months ago (a Zire 72), not because I needed it, but because I wanted it. Though I don't use it to store addresses and phone numbers, I have found some unexpected utilities for it, for example: reading e-books! - Though I have read just a book in it: The Wizard of OZ (I have eReader Pro and Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary installed - just 11 MB in the SD Card versus 1,500 plus pages in the printed edition!). As I barely use the built-in digital camera the T5,or Tungsten T3 available then would have been a better choice due to its larger screen. Also, as you have pointed out, Power48 would run just fine in full screen mode. However, operating the calculator with a stylus and once in a while having to depend on a wall outlet is rather cumbersome. That is why the real calculator (42S, 48G-GX-G+, 49G-G+) is still indispensable, no matter how good the emulator or simulator is (Free 42, Power48).
Thanks for the tips (I had read somewhere the Tungsten T5 was buggy and unstable - perhaps the reviewer didn't know how to operate it).
Getting back to the topic, I think HP should release a 43S (not Chevron-styled and a not a faint decimal point, please!)





Thanks for the report. I too had seen a few somewhat unfavorables reviews as GWB mentioned. However, some of them lamented the lack of WiFi and voice recorder. I don't need either one. So…my wish list has not gotten one item longer.

Thanks again,


If I recall correctly, the Palm "Tungsten T" was the last model to use "Graffiti" handwriting recognition. Due to a patent-infringement lawsuit by Xerox, Palm licensed a version of JOT, changed it a bit, called it "Graffiti2", and used it to replace "Graffiti" for the T2 and later models.

I had a Palm V for a few years and replaced it with an m505, which I've had for about 3 years. I've tried the "Graffiti2" models in stores and found "Graffiti2" very alien and unintuitive for a user of the original Graffiti.

The whole "Graffiti2" business has me looking at the new Pocket PC models and comparing them to the T5. Where's my incentive to stay loyal to Palm if I have to learn a new handwriting input system?

What about your experiences in adapting to the new handwriting recognizer?




I guess everyone's experience is different. My son, who is now 17 and is dyslexic, mastered graffiti much faster than I did and is much better at it. On the other hand, I am faster still using the tappable on-screen keyboard. My oldest daughter has a friend who takes all his college lecture notes in graffiti (he's majoring in philosphy). In the end, I don't write too much on my Palm, so entry methods aren't too important to me. I mainly use my Palm for syncing appointments and contact info from my computer, plus I have several HP calc emulators, a planetarium program, a chess program, some photos, etc.



As an aside, I use FitalyStamp (www.fitaly.com) instead of graffiti. I've been using it on my Vx for 2 years now, and I can tap much more quickly than I could ever input using graffiti.

I just checked the website and they have a version for T3 and T5.

You may want to check it out.
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