HP Handheld SIG News for May, 2000
HP Announces Still Another Low-End Calculator
Suddenly, activity is high at Hewlett-Packard's ACO division. They just recently announced the HP30S, another low-to-mid-range scientific calculator. This unit uses algebraic logic (as does the earlier HP6S) with a two-line LCD similar to the latest incarnation of Texas Instrument's TI-30. The street price is planned to be under twenty dollars, which might just drive the price of the 6S down even further. And speaking of the 6S, a recent change at HP's web site has the HP 6S Solar-powered unit present while it's brother, the battery-powered-only HP 6S has been removed. Perhaps there is no room at the bottom for two machines which are so similar. The 30S is supposed to be shipping now; although I have not found one in any store at this point.
Are We Ready for the HP "Xpander" ?
At last month's National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) annual gathering in Chicago, there was a much-publicized "closed-door" session held by Hewlett-Packard to show off a future product to teachers. Nobody from the Chicago CHIP calculator group was permitted to attend, so our buddies from there didn't find out anything special. However in response to questions about the future, Jean-Yves Avenard suggested in the comp.sys.hp48 newsgroup that people consult a page on HP's website about a product currently called the Xpander. The page is titled "Xpander Sneak Preview", located at http://www.hp.com/calculators/xpander/ and basically is a form for collecting names of people interested in a "revolutionary new learning appliance from HP". The page says the device will offer "the power to teach math, not calculator usage". This sounds like a possible departure from calculator functionality altogether, and perhaps a dedicated device of another sort. (Could it simply be a software package for the PC?)
Still Mulling Over A 2000 HP Calculator Conference
There is still a low-level rumbling about a possible conference this year, possibly in the Southern-California area. Those who have been exchanging email on the subject have been insisting that the attendees "take back" the conference this time; planning some real two-way dialog with the HP folks. Last month, Richard Nelson offered a lengthy, well-thought-out marketing plan for the U.S. HP calculator operation as a result of the recent noise about dealer shakeout. If you would like a copy of this marketing plan, contact me. Hopefully, something positive will result from a conference this year.
Latest HP49G Beta O.S. Version and Documentation Available
The latest beta version of the HP49 operating system is now version 1.17-C with a handful bug fixes. Check this out at HP's web site at http://www.hp.com/calculators/graphing/rom/index.html. (It is known that version 1.19, planned also for the HP40G, will actually contain significant computer-algebra-system improvements, but there is still no word on how soon it will be released.) In addition, the latest HP49 documentation, consisting of the Users Guide and Advanced Users Guide may be downloaded at http://www.hp.com/calculators/techsupport/graphing/49g_useguide/ on the web.