tablet calculators :-)



It seems the wireless tablet computer is the next big thing: Nokia 770, Microsoft Origami, Intel, etc. These machines are kinda between a PDA and a small laptop computer.

Which means that calculator emulators on these machines would be great: 640x480 tactile screen if not more..

What does that say for the future of calculators and calculator emulators?

-- alain.


Most calculators are used in school. Here, you need a small and robust device with moderate power consumption. A real keyboard is always welcome on these tools, too;). I cannot see PDAs et al. being a challenge for the classic calculator.



Tablet computers are not a new idea, but in the past, they seem to have been successful only in industrial applications -- the attraction being that you can use them while holding them with one hand and writing on them with the other.

For anyone else, it's just a laptop with no keyboard...


Hi, Alain; allow me some comments?

(...)640x480 tactile screen if not more
These might be good for low-res graphics, though. I myself feel comfortable with alphanumeric capacity, 12-digit mantissa, 3-digit exponent of ten, as many digits as possible and necessary for internal numbers, graphics welcome, too. About tactile screen: I prefer keys. Yeap, there is the key bouncing issue and related production costs, but tactile screen depends on keyboard emulation software as well.
(...)the future of calculators and calculator emulators?
This is the sort of subject that we can discuss for too long, or simply wait to see. I have my own perspectives, based on historic events. Once math became a tool and this tool found itself inserted on many other sciences, allowing it to be efficient and precise would consequently allow all 'related' sciences to be efficient and precise as well. Trigs and log tables were written, slide rules were created and some mechanical devices that could perform basic calculations were designed and built. Large electromechanical and electronic computers were designed and built as well, so were desktop, powerful calculators. Pocket size versions became a reality after the memorable HP35.

What comes after?

As we can see, existing tools were replaced by newer ones, more efficient, resourceful and reliable. I see no new replacement after the calculator, only different versions of the same concept. What about a neural interactive device that returns suitably coded resulting values once a number-based question is captured in the neural cortex? That would, indeed, be a replacement: no keys to bounce, no screen to be read in bad light conditions, no batteries to replace, only organic-based nanocells that would harmless be implanted in the base of the backbone.

Wow! With such a NIC (Neural-Interfaced Calculator), who needs a standard, keyboard driven calculator?

O.K., let the flames and blames come!

Sorry, folks, but I actually see no current replacement for a calculator, just some guys showing it in a different package and look and claiming that the calculator has its glorious days in the count. I do not see this coming so soon.

My opinion, again.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 3 Mar 2006, 6:56 a.m.


Hi Luiz!
While I don't know of any NIC implant but I know that there are people who have it built in. These peopld tend to do a lot of studying though.



It reminds me of when the Apple Newton came out, the little keyboardless computer which was supposed to recognize handwriting. The first thing I thought was, "Wow, that is some impressive technology!" but the next thing I thought was, "How dumb-- someone has forgotten that the reason we used to use typewriters before we had computers was that typing was faster than writing-- a lot faster!" The banks' ATMs now all seem to have touch screens. I don't like the paralax, the lack of feel, and looking through the grime left behind by fingers. At stores that use the glass pad to sign on when we use a credit card, I can't make my signature look real because of the paralax and because of the delay in response of the pad to show where I've written.

For typing with one hand while holding the computer in the other, I'd rather see something like the Frogpad become standard. Although a bit complicated to learn initially, it is said that with some practice you can type 40wpm on this one-hand QWERTY keyboard replacement.

As for bounce, there's no excuse for it in modern computers or calculators. It does not take much computing power or very many lines of code to do the de-bouncing in software. I've done it many times in the products I've designed.

Edited: 3 Mar 2006, 3:10 p.m.


> What does that say for the future of calculators and calculator emulators?

Probably nothing. This calculator is the only way to go:

In fact, it does have many more features than stated; it easily solves integrals, works even *without* electrical power.


I'm surprised that none of you seem to be aware of xThink's xCal and MathJournal applications. See:

Both products were designed for the tabletPC platform. They are each capable of solving hand-written math expressions. xCalc handles arithmatic, including trig and some specialized math, while MathJournal will solve expressions up to and including entry level calculus (providing, in some cases, symbolic solutions.

The ability to interprete hand-written math is MUCH faster than keyboard entry (as, for example, the -48) which, in this context is both awkward and unnatural.

MathJournal 2.0 is about to enter beta trials. Version 2 will add matrix hath, linear algebra and numerous other expanded capabilities. Before you declare that the calculator is the only future for math manipulation, I suggest that you take another look around...


Let's see what the future of math in the hand is.

Say the following function is defined on integers like :

u(1)= 44

u(2*n) = u(n) and

u(2*n+1)=u(n) .

Tell me what this function is.

For many this function is a constant and has value 44.

For no calculator in the world, is this calculable.

So I say that the future of calculators may be calculators as they are now, but my real brain power. See what one can do with hypergeometric functions. I'm looking forward to better tools.

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