Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting
Tues. December 2, 1997 | Drexel University
Educalc to Close Its Doors After 21 Years
Just last week, Joseph Horn posted an article on the comp.sys.hp48 newsgroup announcing that Educalc would be ceasing operations at the end of the year. Apparently, due to the profit margins reducing toward zero with increased competition from the electronics superstores, it was not going to be possible for them to maintain their level of services. So they will pay their bills, ship their last orders and at the end of the year close its doors for the last time. Of course, this means that Richard Nelson is out of a job for the first time in almost eleven years. Hopefully, he'll land on his feet in the coming months. Educalc is currently selling out its remaining stock for 20 percent off their catalog prices. Their number is still 800-677-7001.
A 1998 Handhelds Conference Website is Started
Recently, Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz (chairman of London's HPCC group) travelled to the United States to visit friends on the west coast and to drum up support for a possible handheld conference in the Pacific Nortwest next year. This would presumably be approaching the halfway point toward new handhelds from the recently-formed Australian Calculator Operation. In addition, since the U.S. sales operation is to be based in Portland, Oregon, there would be an adequate HP connection to have speakers present from the company. Check in on the website from time to time at www.handheld.org.
HP Begins Shipping New Palmtop
The HP360LX began shipping on November 10th with a list price of $699. This unit is the same size as the 320LX, but sports double the RAM (8 Meg) and ROM (10 Meg), faster CPU (with 60 versus 30 MHz) and Windows CE version 2.0. At the same time, the HP320LX drops in price by $100 to $499 and the original 300LX (with no backlight and only one card port instead of two like the others) is discontinued. Also, HP announced the availability of the HP620LX color palmtop for the end of the year. This unit is a half inch wider and deeper and a third-inch thicker than the 320 or 360, and adds a microphone for digital voice recording as well as 16 meg of RAM, even faster CPU (at 75 Mhz) and optional VGA-out PC card for external SVGA monitor support. The 620LX will list for $999. One wonders with the sizes continually growing, whether their utility is diminished as a palmtop.
Meanwhile, many of the other palmtop competitors in the Windows CE arena have also announced their version-2.0 units as well; including Philips, NEC, Compaq, Casio and LG Electronics (formerly Lucky Goldstar). The NEC unit is positively "enormous" for a palmtop, with three-quarter-size keyboard and half-VGA monochrome LCD. (At this size, they compete with Toshiba's line of Libretto Windows 95 subnotebooks.) The new Philips Velo 500 (why wasn't it called the Velo 2 to follow the model 1???) remains the same physical size as its predecessor, but offers 28.8Kbps internal modem and either 16 or 24 megs of RAM.
Speaking earlier of the Toshiba Libretto, a new model 70 (at $1999.) has just been introduced in the United States, to come in above the model 50 (whose price has been reduced to $1499). The physical box remains the same: 8.3 by 4.5 by 1.4 inches in size with 6.1-inch TFT color LCD running Windows 95. The CPU has been upped from 75 to 120 megahertz and the standard RAM is still 16 MB. The internal hard drive has been doubled in size from 800 meg to 1.6 gig. This form factor seems to have gotten the attention of the other Japanese manufacturers, as at least two others have released similarly-sized units over there. This should keep Toshiba on its toes, and indeed since the original Libretto model 20 it has not gone more than six months without announcing a new model.
HP Calculator Web Site Moved
Check out the new HP Calculator Web site at www.hp.com/calculators. They've been moved away from their original place along with the palmtops at hpcc998.external.hp.com:80/handheld/handheld_devices - this might be due to the fact that palmtops have remained in Singapore and calculators have recently been moved to the Australian group. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of things which will be changing for the better for HP calculators.
Texas Instruments TI-92 Gets a Boost
Recently, TI announced a user-installable upgrade for the TI-92 graphics calculator, called the Plus Module. This $80. upgrade (planned for the first half of next year) will supply an additional 128K of regular user RAM plus 384K of "archive" memory for storing additional functions, programs and data. In addition, a list of enhanced capabilities includes:
It looks like this is TI's first step to expand the TI-92 in the direction of the HP48, at least in the solver, units and systems-of-equations direction. In addition, the Plus module contains flash memory which will be able to be upgraded via Internet connection to TI's web site in the future. This novel way of updating the machine should prove very popular. Check this out at www.ti.com/calc/docs/92plus.htm on the web.
London Conference Video Available
If you're interested in obtaining a copy of the 11-hour videotape from the September London HP Handheld Conference, either check out our HP videos web site at www.waterw.com/~jake-s/video.htm, email me at email@example.com or phone me at 856-751-1310 at home evenings or weekends. Also, we've got 66 photos from the conference posted at www.waterw.com/~jake-s/1997/HPCCconf97/hpccimag.htm. As always, check out our regular web site at for all the latest information relating to handhelds and our local group.
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