Philadelphia Area Computer Society HP Handheld SIG Meeting

Saturday, March 20, 1999 | Upper Moreland Middle School

Will This One Be "6S"-ful?

At the beginning of March, some people posted to the comp.sys.hp48 newsgroup that they discovered a German HP web site advertising a new scientific calculator. Dubbed the HP6S, this entry-level unit will come either battery- or solar- and battery-powered (presumably with the solar cell recharging the battery). The translated German indicates that this machine is for students and professionals and handles fraction calculations. Later newsgroup postings from others mentioned that "reliable sources" insist this has indeed been designed by HP's Australian Calculator Operation (ACO), and not simply a rebadged unit from another manufacturer (whew!).

Hewlett-Packard Company Splits In Two

Also earlier in March, it was announced that Hewlett-Packard would be dividing itself up into two separate companies; with the computer, imaging and printing divisions remaining under the HP name. The groups to be separated would be electronic instruments and medical, and this company has been only referred to as the "New Measurement Company" in HP press releases. It was later mentioned by those in the know that the Australian ACO would remain under the HP name. Despite the fact that computers have outsold instruments at HP by five to one, it is sad that such a split would have to occur in order to allow the smaller group to have greater autonomy and market speed. Of course, it was instruments on which the company was founded sixty years ago.

Another Handheld Conference This Year

A recent email sent by Megha Shyam (of DaVinci Technologies) indicated that the groundwork is being laid for another HP Users Conference in the Pacific Northwest. They are looking toward the August time frame.

Megha elaborates:

  • Possible Topics -

    A new machine from HP? may be

    With active HP participation, a panel discussion

    Palmtops, Palm Pilots and new directions?

    Use of Technology in Education?

    Programming contest

  • Looks like something new from HP later this year might be of interest to us. Stay tuned.

    "HP Shooting Itself In The Foot", Part II

    Last month I mentioned that on Jim Lawson's behalf, I emailed Jeff Blough, HP's U.S. Sales & Marketing manager for calculators. The purpose was to inquire how they could be selling calculators direct via their website in direct competition with their own dealers. Jeff did respond with a thoughtful email, but the content left something to be desired. He began with:

    "Our market research has identified a particular segment of consumers who

    prefer to buy directly from the manufacturer....Retail of any type (both

    retail outlets and dealers) continues to be the preferred channel for

    most of our customers. Our number one priority is to our customers and

    making sure we can provide product where they expect to find product....

    In surfing the net, there are other dealers who offer far lower pricing

    than we do. Of course, I cannot control their final pricing. Plus we

    require a $5.00 shipping fee on top of each order...."

    So, basically they want their cake and to eat it too. It boggles the mind that they could think their dealers won't suffer with the loss of customers to HP directly.

    On the other hand, Jeff also mentioned in the email:

    "Hope all is well with you and look forward to seeing you again this

    year at the Users' Conference. (Stay tuned for news on that)....

    You can look forward to new product this year and a fun User's


    Perhaps they can make up for those "foot injuries" by rewarding their impatient HP48GX users with a successor.


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