Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Wednesday, July 15, 1992 - 7 PM - Drexel University

HP's Kittyhawk Drive

It's been a quiet month with very little to report on the HP handheld scene. The new 1.3-inch 21.4-megabyte "Kittyhawk" hard disk drive from Hewlett-Packard will apparently be made available later this year as an OEM device, and probably will be sold as an HP95 peripheral around that time as well. It's hard to imagine this one-ounce device NOT becoming popular as a built-in item in upcoming palmtops. A recent article in Computer Shopper claimed that HP is shooting for the 1995 time frame to increase the capacity to as high as 200 meg in the same form factor.

Lots of Subnotebooks

The rest of the palmtop/subnotebook world seems to be getting into high gear, as both Gateway and Zeos have announced small units in the past month. Zeos' unit is similar to the Poqet unit, having 2 card slots and weighing just over a pound, while Gateway's is a 2.75-pound, 286-workalike with a built in 40-meg (presumably 1.8-inch) hard disk drive. Both of these are roughly the same length and width with full-size typeable keyboards. The Zeos unit has a 640 by 200 LCD while Gateway's is 640 by 400. The word out on the street is that Dell will have a small machine very soon as well. One wonders whether HP's upcoming "Cougar" unit will be much of a technological leap over the competition when it is announced.

London Conference Info

In this handout is an official announcement and registration for the HPCC Tenth Anniversary conference in London in September. I have not heard whether any HP representatives will definitely make it from Corvallis. However, Jim Donnelly will be present (as a civilian), possibly speaking on his pet outside project, a book on the history of calculators. Jim did mention in a recent Email that it was possible that either (HP48 software manager) Diana Byrne or (HP95 pager software engineer) Raan Young might be there. London would be a great place for the HP folks to announce the updated HP48 version, called rev "J" in the most recent rumors. The latest word says that whenever the current run of HP48 CPU chips runs out, they will do the next set with an updated chip that runs around 4 megahertz (or twice as fast). With the new rev software speeding up the equation writer and possibly also the matrix writer, a faster processor would make things all the more interesting.

Sparcom HP48 Card Updates

In the coming months, expect Sparcom to release HP48 Rom cards which are "souped up" from their original batch. Since Brian Maguire has gone to work with them for the Summer, he has been tasked to convert programming speed bottlenecks from user code to System RPL. In addition, he has even sought Rick Grevelle's assistance to convert some of the routines to machine code.Perhaps future versions of their engineering pacs will have applications which run as fast as those in HP's Equation Library card. Speaking of HP48 machine code and System RPL, for those who have an interest in these areas (and have access to a PC with a 3-1/2 inch disk drive), I would heartily recommend getting a copy of this month's special HP48 floppy disk. It will provide many hours of interesting reading and learning.

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