HP 49G+ for $78 at Amazon



#29

Hi all,

I just found the 49G+ for $78 at Amazon.com. This is a significant price drop from just last week. I believe that it was about $140 or $130 last week. So, anybody have any ideas why? Is HP coming out with a new version or something? Is Amazon trying to get rid of old stock? (I don't think so - there is a 1 to 2 week shipping time)

And if anyone is looking to buy a 49G+, it's a damn good price ...

Scott


#30

Wow you are right. The price and waiting period make me curious. Either way, it is a royal deal!! I am very tempted <G>

Namir

#31

Strange, I did not see any price drop in other sellers when I did a Yahoo Shopping and ePinion search.

The Amazon price is a "sale" price, I bought my current 49G+ from them (forgot how much I paid). For $78, I just ordered another unit as a backup.

Thanks for the tip. I do not like the keyboard on the 49G+, but for $78, you can't beat the deal.


#32

Ordefed one too. I can imagine the Marketplace sellers's frustration with Amazon's sale price. Wonder how long it will last!

Namir


#33

Hmmm, it's still a 49g though.

I just picked up a 48s with (thick!) manual for $23 + shipping. Look to be quite a few more available.

disclaimer: I am not a seller etc.

#34

The old versions are being dumped. Evidently there is a new revision of the keyboard with a metal dome insert to correct the endless keyboard problems. The old versions with bad keyboards are worthless. $78 plus shipping for a machine you'll stop using when the bugs show their ugly heads is no bargain


#35

So what if they are being "dumped." Are they under warranty?

If so, when the keys go, you send it back and get the new version for the old (cheap) price!


#36

Good point.

#37

That's assuming that they don't keep a bunch of the old, unsold models for warranty spares.

I've already had my calculator replaced once under warranty. It still misses key strokes, even with the latest firmware. It's the first time that I've been burned by a defective product from HP.

#38

Where did you hear about metal domes? I would like to know more as I really doubt they can do that based on the physical size the dome would have to be to fit.

I feel the issue with missed keystrokes is not a hardware problem - the same design is used in the 10Bii and 17Bii+.


Edited: 15 June 2005, 7:24 p.m.


#39

I'm not familiar with the keyboard construction of the 49+ but I can say that design and installation can play a major role in tactile dome-sheet performance. Steel domes with a diameter of ~1/8" can be had without any trouble, so I doubt size would be much of an issue. I don't think this is a software problem, otherwise HP could just release an update rather than changing the hardware!

-HDE

#40

I also question this logic for a few reasons:

1) This price is only found on Amazon. If HP really intends to clean out the inventory, they need to offer that to all the resellers. The way things are now, other resellers will not sell any 49G+ given the Amazon price. It is not a good channel strategy, HP will upset a lot of resellers, I think they are smart enough to realize it.

2) If HP keeps the same model number for the new keyboard, and indeed offers a low price to the reseller to unload the old inventory. There is no way to prevent resellers from keeping their old stock (let's say $70 at cost) and resell it a couple months later at the regular price, instead of selling it now for $79. HP has no control over the "freshness" of the dealer stock, or any say whether the dealer should use FIFO or LIFO to manage their inventory. And frankly, for the general public, a 49G+ is a 49G+, they have no idea whether it is metal dome or other design inside the case. And perhaps less than 1% of the buyers will ever check serial number before buying.

3) If the current keyboard is inherantly a defective design, it would have been even more foolish for HP to distinguish Gen 2 vs. Gen 1 units, and keep sending Gen 1 units to replace defective Gen 1 units. I have never seen such a thing done in the business world.

So unless HP executes a model number change for the new keyboard (if true), I really don't see how such "dumping" strategy through Amazon alone could benefit them.


#41

"...and keep sending Gen 1 units to replace defective Gen 1 units. I have never seen such a thing done in the business world."

Earth to Gordon - this has happened a lot. With the 49+, many people sent in defective units only to receive another defective unit. I should know, I did it three times!


#42

That is a completely different scenario from what I had mentioned. In your case, they have no choice but to send you the only thing they have in their replacement stock, which is another Gen 1 unit, and hoping it is a defect, and not a design flaw. Even if they know there is a design flaw, what else could they do, don't send you another 49G+ back? I don't think you will be happy with that either.

My comment about replacment units is towards the comment that they might keep the unsold old model as warranty repair. My point is if they have an improved design (Gen 2), there is no reason to keep sending old stock (Gen 1) as replacement. What you said in your statement is exactly the reason why a business should not do that. You will keep sending it back, and they have to keep processing your warranty claim until your warranty expires. No saint business would want to deal with that, you are not happy, they are not happy. There is nothing to gain here, so it is better to send you a Gen 2 replacement and get it over with.


#43

I understand your point, and it is the rational view. Indeed, I basically subscribed to the same general philosophy. However, that is NOT what happened in the case of the 49+, which is my point. My eyes have been opened. HP no longer cares about quality. It is no longer a company of engineers, for engineers. It is now a typical mass-market company churning out batches of junk. To change my opinion will take some doing.


#44

I haven't shyied away from flogging Hp when they deserved it (and I don't blame you for using that whip either!!!). However, as many here have noted, calculators don't cost what they used to either.

And they aren't used by the same bunch in the same way either. Todays calculator is most likely to be in the hands of a student, not a professional. And students will ruin a good quality calculator nearly as quickly as a POS calculator (I know, I have a teenager who treats all of her electronics as disposable and I have tossed my hands in the air in surrender!!!). The calculator is tossed in a backpack (often the bottom) with all of her books and the backpack is then treated like the Samsonite commercial of years past. When she is using, it is next to her soda and sticky snacks and the keys are covered with gunk! While her calculator lasted a year (and still works) the keyboard is sticky and some buttons are now semi-pasty. Would she value a $300 calculator? She is a $10 calculator user until her last class required she use a graphics. She just grabbed one out of my collection (a ti, fortunately) and abused it terribly.

Hp wants that market too. In many ways it is a better market to have. Irresponsible users who buy, abuse (beyond warrenty issues, so only 1 in 10 can claim a warrenty repair), and repeat customers because they do not take any care whatsoever of their equipment. They may buy 1-3 calculators in a 4-5 year period if they attend college and probably will buy two in High School at the rate they abuse them. What a market!!!

We are really lucky Hp is tossing us crumbs (and that is what they are in comparision to the quality of calculators past) in providing us an RPN option for these new HP (whatever) offerings.

But the Hp49G+ and HP33s are physically more robust that the previous line for the short term user. LCD screen covers protect the weakest part of todays calculators where they are most apt to fail todays user. 90% of the calculator crowd, abandons their calculators after school. The few that pursue a carreer that makes use of math and number crunching, do so with computers, leaving a mere 1-2 percent hardcore calculator users. These guys (US!!) may wear out their keyboards and warrent a replacement calculator. But these crybabies (again, US!) don't affect the market all that much. We are basically ignored for the most part (luckily we do get listened to, on occasion).

Remember, Bean Counters RULE!!! Keeping this in mind, explains pretty much all Hp decisions. If you can make an arguement that the Bean Counter can agree with, you are most likely to get a result to your liking. If you cannot show the bottom line arguement to that group, you will lose.

My own experience with the Hp15c made me an Hp convert (even to this day, but I freely admit, my Hp49G+ is not an Hp48G and I would rather have another Hp42s, not the Hp33s).

I am happy that I can now buy an Hp33s so that I do not risk my much better and treasured Hp's in the field. But Hp RPN's are still available and for general work okay. Are they heirlooms? No, but the originals weren't meant to become them either (although they are of a quality that will endure and become so).

But a calculator that works forever is only one calculator sold. Sad, that philosphy has prevailed, but given the customer above, Hp wants that market, not us. Be glad for the crumbs.

Again I rant. My 2 cents


#45

Ron, I can't agree with you more. My first was a HP 25C way back in the late 70's, it took me forever to save up enough money to buy it. It was treated as a scientific instrument I treasured well into the mid 80's (and luckily rekindled thanks to this board).

When I read the owner's manual for the early HPs (mostly the LED models, Classic, Woodstock, Spice), they made you feel special and proud to own a HP. They first congratulate you on your purchase, then began to explain how precious the calculator was. Few kids in my school had scientific calculators, and even fewer with HPs, and mine had "Continous Memory", perhaps the only one in my school. So I do believe vintage calculators, back in their heydays, were treated differently, targeted for a different set of users, sold at a different price point, and these all influenced the overall build quality and design of the devices.

As Ron has stated, the world is different now, calculators, HP or not, are now a disposable commodity. If we were to compare it with the vintage HPs, certain attributes of the vintage models (documentation, support, build quality, design with few compromises) will always shine.

HP is a different firm now, it is unlikely we will ever see a high quality, high price calculator from them. My wish would be for Agilent to enter the calculator market, and have them come up with a new design that is by enginners, and for engineers (the Human Interface needs to be completely reengineered). And build it with the exacting standard they use for their test equipments, complete with interfaces with the test bench. If they do that, then I think there may be a chance for the return of a true high end calculator/computer for the engineering community.


#46

Quonos is as close as you will get to what you really want, at least in the next few years.

When I was an Instrument tech I had a SuperCalc for instrument calilabration. It had a fair amount of math functions, but is was about the size of a motor cycle battery and was really meant to simulate and tune process control loops. And it cost about $3000. I really loved that piece of equipment, but I never bought one! For number crunching any Hp scientific would be better and certainly easier to carry around. Nearly any engineering specific calculator will have to compete with a much cheaper Ti, Hp, or other brand calculator even with the majority of engineers. And most of us are CHEAP, plain and simple. Only if this new fangled device offers something we can't buy anywhere else, will we buy it at a premium.

I know you will say quality, and that will be true for a small amount of people, but a super deluxe well made calculator will have only a small percentage of a market even in comparision to ROLEX! A Rolex is simple to use and any simpleton who can read a clock can appreciate owning such an showpiece. A calculator requires a knowledgable user who may or may not be infatuated with such a status symbol and may feel, "Hey, I can buy 3-5 Hp49G+'s for that! And I can afford to drop it and not retrieve it in the concrete, sewage, pick something. etc!!!".

That is why Quonos is having problems, yet it looks to be an excellent product, just the included features make it a device for labratories (and it is cheap for the goodies it does include), not the general user. Most calculator user's don't need I/O! I did as a tech in a chemical plant, but would I take my own $3000 SuperCalc into such a place? Only if I were a consultant charging a lot more than what I was making as Tech! The Quonos is a very similiar instrument at a much lower cost and also more compact as well. I would buy one in an instant too, if I were to return to field work.

#47

Ron and Gordon, I agree with you completely. I've had 2 of those teenagers, too. But why do they act this way?

Because times have changed. Way back in the seventies, I remember us doing physics lab using slide rules, math tables and paper. The worst thing to meet was error propagation, because you had to add squares - and there was no tool available besides your brains. So, for us it was a sensation when scientific pocket calcs appeared. Being students at an university, we eagerly waited for the prices to decrease to a level we could reach - a calc was a real investment for us! So we took care of our precious little helper, because it was worth a fortune (of our budget), we were proud and excited about its features and we didn't want to miss it anymore. Calcs were hip then like laptops are today.

Today, calcs of a functionality we had to pay X E02 dollars are giveaways. Almost every kid in school has one before it is able to calculate. It's far more comfortable to use a calc than your own brains. And (also small) people strive for easy living like we did. Since things of low cost are taken to be also low in value, kids treat it like they treat other stuff they take for granted.

So turn time back? No way! Or do you want back 64kB minicomputers in 19" racks 7 feet high for your daily R&D work? Bad enough we didn't overcome these "imperial units" yet (BTW, is there anybody still using them outside USA?). HiQ calcs had their time as brass microscopes, wooden suitcases, cotton tents and the like. They will survive as our hobby as long as our memories are linked to them - and as long as their components work. OK, one could manufacture even nicer calcs using today's technology - but who cares besides us? Who will buy a power calc when you get a laptop for twice the money? Just us - and we can be counted pretty well.

So this got longer than planned. Continue to use and enjoy your calcs and brains :-)


#48

Roger that, in the mid 70's on both TI's and HP's the ssying was amongst us engineering students when pricing those calculating jewels, "you could buy a car for that!"


#49

Offhand, I can think of at least two cars that I bought for less than each of my first few calculators.

#50

How expensive were those huge mechanical Frieden calculators? I saw piles of them in office equipment stores when electronic calculators became affordable. With all those precision mechanical parts, they must have been expensive.

#51

I think you've hit on the truth there.

Only, I harbor a sneaking suspicion, or perhaps merely a hope, that when these calculator-disposing youth get a little older, they may see the "geek chic" aspect of machines like the HP-41. Comparing once again to automobiles, there are plenty of auto enthusiasts 1/4 as old as the classic cars they collect. And the price differential cuts the other way, in that case.

So maybe we can brainw^U encourage the youth of today into seeing the merits of our peculiar fetish with retro computing devices?

#52

An interesting insight, especially from your perspective as a father. I also see young kids treat their calculators as totally disposable, replaceable stuff. When I see this sort of thing, it makes me wonder just sort of engineers they will turn out to be be. Sigh...

As for HP, a serious shakeup is needed. Bean counters may be necessary, but they don't have to rule. Bring back the original, innovative HP way. Get rid of the Carlyites and get back to tinkering with pride. Only that will ever restore HP to its previous luster.

#53

Amazon is advertising that a one-year subscription to Business 2.0 magazine is included w/ purchase of the 49G+. In smaller print, the advertising says (free magazine) offer expires June 30, 2005. I think it's pretty easy to come to the conclusion that these calculators have been sitting around awhile.

IIRC, that little magazine coupon (assuming it's the same one that came with my 33S), states if the magazine subscription isn't desired, that the form can be used toward a $9.99 rebate. If you can get one of these calculators before the end of June (Amazon says one to two week delivery), and can get the rebate in on time, then in theory, the 49G+ would end up costing around $68.

Then when the keys break internally, the chances of getting a replacement 49g+ with the new "metal domed" keyboard increases the longer you wait until the one-year warranty limit (without going over). Good advice: Keep your receipt.

Matt


#54

Hi Matt,

Good catch. I looked at the current 49G+ I have, to get the rebate, I had to send it the original receipt and UPC code. Guess what, the UPC code is on the backcover of the owner's manual!

So rather than cutting up the owner's manual for $10, which I may very well regret for later, I decide to send it in for a year of Money Magazine subscription. But for those of you who don't care, it is a great way to save $10.

#55

Just received one of the $78.00 49G+ calcs from Amazon. I was afraid that this would be one the older stock models that was being pushed out. It turns out that the serial number is really new..CNA51001xxx. The keyboard feels pretty good and so far no issues with missing key entry. Pretty sweet deal but this calculator will never be like my first HP calculator. My first HP Calculator was a HP 41CV that I purchased back in 1981. Well worth the $325.00 I spent back in the day. It was a true scientific instrument that I handled with the most utmost care. It's still working today.


#56

I would say the 49g+ is still well worth the $78 you paid for it.

Arnaud


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