HP Handheld SIG News - July, 1999

HP49 Reaction Continues To Be Varied

The reaction to the upcoming HP49G calculator from Hewlett-Packard seems to still vary from delight to mystery. A handful of explanations are unfolding as to why certain tradeoffs were made. For instance, in order to support the rewriting of the built-in flash ROM, a source of high voltage was needed. This required the sacrifice of the two-way infrared LEDs, which were also powered by the needed high voltage. An explanation for the reason the HP49 display was not made any larger was due to their remaining with the HP48 CPU, which could only support an LCD whose maximum size was 131 by 64 pixels. The keyboard's algebraic look was done that way in order for a more wide user audience appeal. It was felt that if anybody could pick up an HP49 in a store and immediately press meaningful keys, then it's attractiveness would be greately increased. Of course, the traditional HP RPL/RPN is only a few mode-setting keystrokes away.

August HP Conference Still On Tap

There is still a scheduled HP Handheld conference in the Portland, Oregon area on the weekend of August 21st and 22nd. According to distributor-supplied literature, HP will be offering a special deal around the back-to-school season, so it stands to reason that we might see the "official" roll out of the '49 at the conference. It'd *really* be nice if they rewarded each attendee with a machine, but that might just be a bit too costly for them.