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Casio Unveils New Color Screen Graphing Calculator

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the new-hue dept.

Education 313

An anonymous reader writes "As reported by hobbyist calculator programmers, Casio has recently unveiled new graphing calculator models, the Casio fx-CG10/20 series, less than a year after Texas Instruments released the TI-Nspire Touchpad. The calculators features a 65536 colors screen (16-bit) with a resolution of 384x216 pixels, 16 MB of Flash memory (10 available for the user) and 140 hours of battery life. The calculators will retail starting at $129.99. Although Casio's new calculator official page have limited information about the calculator programming capabilities and processor speed, could this eventually mark the end of TI's reign in North American schools?"

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Obligatory xkcd reference (4, Funny)

gspr (602968) | about 4 years ago | (#33886858)

Re:Obligatory xkcd reference (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33887226)

I thought of that too. Maybe XKCD has shamed calculator makers into actually trying. I'm imagining it now.

"Lets see, time to check the webcomics... ...

I... I didn't become an engineer for this! Where did the dream of making the worlds best calculator die?!? I thought I was going to change the world of handheld calculators, but then I tried skipping coffee and spending more time with the family... before I knew it we were asking ourselves 'Why fix what's not really that broken and that students have to buy anyway' rather than 'What new features can we cram into it?' I knew I had hit some type of bottom when I actually told schools they should just recycle their old calculators rather than buying new.

That changes today. By God, I'm putting color on this motherfucker... FOR AMERICA!!!"

Re:Obligatory xkcd reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887444)

Their hand was forced, but not like that. The last engineer who knew how to make the crappy displays has died. It's right there in the comic. How could you miss it?

Re:Obligatory xkcd reference (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887334)

Obligatory gay comic reference.

Obligatory xkcd forum meme (1)

BergZ (1680594) | about 4 years ago | (#33887602)

Get out of Randal's head Casio!

Why? (4, Interesting)

BassMan449 (1356143) | about 4 years ago | (#33886870)

I don't understand the need for such fancy calculators for students. I'm sure there are some professionals that might like to have it, but I used a TI-83 through all high school and college and never found something you couldn't make it do that you needed.

What is the purpose of making these calculators with color screens rather than just making simpler but still advanced graphing calculators cheaper?

Re:Why? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33886960)

To keep the economy rolling. If you're satisfied with what you have and can rationally justify it, as opposed to emotionally, pretty soon you're not buying as much. Next thing you know you don't need to work as hard, and have more free time to think.... That's the last thing the powers that be want.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33887094)

What I don't get is why someone would spend $150 on a calculator when you could get a netbook with a gig of RAM and 180 gigs of drive space with a dual core processor for the price of two of them. Kubuntu comes with a scientific calculator, and it's a free OS you can replace Windows with or install dual-boot.

I just don't know why anyone would buy a calculator, period.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 4 years ago | (#33887148)

What I don't get is why someone would spend $150 on a calculator when you could get a netbook with a gig of RAM and 180 gigs of drive space with a dual core processor for the price of two of them. Kubuntu comes with a scientific calculator, and it's a free OS you can replace Windows with or install dual-boot.

I just don't know why anyone would buy a calculator, period.

They don't allow laptops into most exam rooms. There has always been a lot of places which had restrictions on graphing calculators, and required you to have standard 8(?) function calculators, or they would wipe the internal memory in a few cases.

It's probably why calculators didn't really improve much over the years, if you improved them, even if it lowered the cost, you would ironically reduce your potential market.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 4 years ago | (#33887442)

"They don't allow laptops into most exam rooms."

This is the problem. An artificial market for underpowered devices has been created, and is supported both by the standard math curricula (TI teams up with publishers to encourage states to purchase books that require a TI calc) and the standardized test manufacturers, while they do not "require" a brand name calculator, do indeed require that children cripple themselves and spend another $150 on a hunk of plastic that has not changed in years.

Kids should be able to use a Nintendo DS with a graphing calc cartridge, they should be able to use an iPod Touch, they should be able to use their little netbooks and so forth.

Re:Why? (1)

MmmmAqua (613624) | about 4 years ago | (#33887184)

Just try to talk a test proctor into letting you use your netbook instead of an approved graphing calculator.

Re:Why? (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 4 years ago | (#33887204)

How many teachers would let you take that netbook into a test?

Calculators were always allowed in my classes (this was years ago: about the time of the TI-85 and it amazed me that I could bring such a thing with me...) I'm assuming calculators are still allowable.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

SirWhoopass (108232) | about 4 years ago | (#33887536)

I think most teachers allowed graphing calculators because they had no idea how to program the things, and assumed their students did not either.

I'd probably have gotten better grades in school if I'd put as much effort into studying as I did in learning how to program my TI-85 into a reference library.

Re:Why? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887468)

144 Hours of battery life. That means I change batteries about once a year. And my calculator is still less than half the size of my 8" netbook.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

AshtangiMan (684031) | about 4 years ago | (#33887554)

I've had an HP 15C since 1987 and have changed the batteries once (about 3 years ago). RPN for the win!

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887474)

How do you fit that netbook in your pocket, and how many hours of battery life do you get out of it?

Re:Why? (1)

zrelativity (963547) | about 4 years ago | (#33887544)

Thats because the top end calculators are not just for performing arithmetic calculations: they are equivalent of a cut down version of Maple or Mathematica. However much does one of those application cost on the PC?

**Z

Re:Why? (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about 4 years ago | (#33887628)

What I don't get is why someone would spend $150 on a calculator when you could get a netbook with a gig of RAM and 180 gigs of drive space with a dual core processor for the price of two of them. Kubuntu comes with a scientific calculator, and it's a free OS you can replace Windows with or install dual-boot.

I just don't know why anyone would buy a calculator, period.

Because in high school they still won't let you use a netbook on tests.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887670)

I'm an engineering student, while I love whipping out MATLAB to bust out equations for me and do graphing, I don't have the space in the lab and the workshop to have a laptop out all the time. Sure I could carry one around with me all the time, but why bother when I can just have a graphing calculator and not have to worry about boot times and loading times? They are light, barely ever need to change batteries, perform all the basic functions I need, and are the right price. Just because you don't use one doesn't mean they don't have a use.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | about 4 years ago | (#33887106)

What is the purpose of making these calculators with color screens rather than just making simpler but still advanced graphing calculators cheaper?

Fractals, putting multiple dataplots on the same graph for easier comparisons, and those two without thinking very hard.

I do agree 100% that existing graphing calculators are absolutely overpriced for the hardware. Even a humble TI-84 costs about $100 for a mere Z80 @ 15 MHz with 48 KB memory and 2 MB flash.

Re:Why? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#33887330)

I found a TI-93 at Goodwill for a couple bucks. I still had my link software from back in the day. I laughed when I realized the TI-92 had a faster processor than the Mac Classic I hooked it up to for file transfer.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887238)

I don't understand the need for such fancy calculators for students. I'm sure there are some professionals that might like to have it, but I used a TI-83 through all high school and college and never found something you couldn't make it do that you needed.

[Insert the rest of the obligatory chain of "my calculator/slide rule/pencil and paper combination was more primitive than yours" posts here]

Re:Why? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#33887282)

The TI-83 IS one of those fancy calculators.
It may be the least expensive of the fancy ones, but it's still a lot more fancy than most students need.

Re:Why? (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 4 years ago | (#33887288)

I always wanted a color screen on my calc, if only to do multi color graphing. I loved playing with 3D graphs and variable sliders on computer apps (the Mac OS 9 graphing calculator was the only Mac app I envied), and it would have been neat (and educational!) to do that kind of thing on a calculator as well. Alas, I may not live to see the day, at the rate things are going (insert ob xkcd ref).

Had a TI-83 in HS, got an HP48GX for engineering school. Never touched one again after going professional :P Actually, in order to take the preliminary Fundamentals of Engineering exam, I had to buy a cheaper simpler scientific calculator just for the test (went with the midrange Casio FX100something, since it still had a solver and some other fancy features buried in it).

I've never really regretted spending money on calculators, though. Even though I could run the HP48 emulator on my old PalmT|X, the feel of the real buttons is much nicer, like an extension of yourself. But someday I'm sure this will sound like some old geezer lusting after the slide rule or abacus :P

Re:Why? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 4 years ago | (#33887298)

What is the purpose of making these calculators with color screens rather than just making simpler but still advanced graphing calculators cheaper?

The same thing happened with B/W cellphones: "you build it, they will come" attacts purchasers. It also pays the aging engineers' bills and increases eyeball share because of perceived "innovation," even if you prefered the old tech.

Today's public using color phones is paying good cash for standard features that open the door to, say, viewing pr0n pics. Won't be long because the same is applied to the Casio natively or via some hack.

Featuritis comes at a price: never-improving prices and never-improving battery life for what is basically pig-lipstick rehashes of ancient tech.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Stregano (1285764) | about 4 years ago | (#33887314)

I remember playing Zelda on my graphing calculator in math class (it is easy to get away with playing games on a graphics calculator). I bet the game they release for this thing (even the homebrews) will be awesome.

Re:Why? (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 4 years ago | (#33887338)

IMHO, there is no need. I taught math in a university for several years now, and I am convinced that calculators should be phased out. There is just no point: their only justified use in while testing. And since many students are expected to bring a general purpose networked computer to class (a smartphone), we could as well start conducting tests in Faraday cages: first classrooms, and later individual students. And once everyone is in a cage, there is just no point anymore not to allow a modern OS, with all of its pythons and gnuplots and what not. In the future, there won't be a point in not having a very personal wearable computer, a cyberbrain of sorts, either networked or not. So there is no reason to test people while deprived of it, unless they are in exotic professions.

Re:Why? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | about 4 years ago | (#33887434)

Now I am totally trying to find an excuse to get one for my job. I am just a computer programmer, but to walk around with one of those and just telling people, "Oh, I need it for my job" would be awesome.

Re:Why? (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 4 years ago | (#33887562)

Hey, I have a soft spot for programmable ones too, I used to have one when I was a kid (a real Eastern European beast). Nothing wrong with calculators, just no point in mandating them for school.

Practical Applications? (2, Insightful)

NYMeatball (1635689) | about 4 years ago | (#33886892)

I'm not trying to be overly critical - maybe a tad skeptical.

This is definitely *cool*. What's the point in this, though? I'm a programmer/developer, but I've never been a hardcore "programmer" or user of calculators. As long as I can do some basic graphing and standard 4-function stuff, most calculators make me super happy.

The first immediate con I can see of this is...usability. If I'm colourblind - I'm not going to be very thrilled about this.

The first immediate pro I can see of this is.....help me out here.

Sure, this is cool, but why do I want to pay $130 for a color model when I can get a standard monochrome one for $50ish?

Re:Practical Applications? (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33886940)

Sure, this is cool, but why do I want to pay $130 for a color model when I can get a standard monochrome one for $50ish?

In the desperate attempt at making complicated things simpler, if you graph y=2x+3 and y=3x+1 you'll probably get one line in red, the other in green, and the calculator will probably highlight the intersection in blinking yellow.

Basically nothing that helps the kids understand, but "they're trying to do SOMETHING" and so thats just great.

Oh, and the games will be better on the color one.

Re:Practical Applications? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33887086)

Unless you have a pretty high resolution screen(which, given present economies of scale, is probably substantially more expensive than a color one), color is a perfectly good way to distinguish multiple lines, data points from one run vs. those of another, and so on and so forth. If you have high resolution, you can get away with crosshatching and using different symbols and things; but that just turns into pixel soup on a lower resolution device.

As for usability, I'm assuming that, if only because the ADA could otherwise torpedo their chance of being purchased by a single public school district, they'll have a "don't use red/green for important distinctions" mode available at least optionally, if not by default.

I suspect that their effort will be largely stillborne in the US, at least. Nobody buys TI because of their technological superiority(which isn't) or low prices(which aren't); but because they have a more or less self-perpetuating hold on being "standard". Some(horribly degenerate) textbooks even have step by step pictorial instructions consisting of sequences of TI-83 keys to press. Would you like fries with that factorization?

Given that color screens aren't necessary(though technological progress means that $130 calculators should have nice screens, or today's calculators should sell for ~$20), I doubt that this will help much, and anybody who is likely to be doing lots of stuff where color would be useful(graphs, plots, figures, etc.) is probably using a computer algebra system anyway, so that won't sell many calculators.

Re:Practical Applications? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 4 years ago | (#33887274)

As for usability, I'm assuming that, if only because the ADA could otherwise torpedo their chance of being purchased by a single public school district, they'll have a "don't use red/green for important distinctions" mode available at least optionally, if not by default.

ADA doesn't cover colorblindness. It's not deemed to be a sufficient impairment. Sufficient enough to cut you out of a lot of jobs apparantly, but not sufficient that you need protection.

Re:Practical Applications? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33887322)

Oh, that is cold, especially when "reasonable accommodation" is so damn cheap for that particular condition.

Re:Practical Applications? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33887206)

The first immediate con I can see of this is...usability. If I'm colourblind - I'm not going to be very thrilled about this.

Color blind people see colors. "Colorblindness" is actually a misnomer. The most common is red-green color blindness; my dad has that. They have color receptors, but not of all three primaries. So this calculator would still be useful to a color blind person.

Re:Practical Applications? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 4 years ago | (#33887246)

The first immediate con I can see of this is...usability. If I'm colourblind - I'm not going to be very thrilled about this.

I'm colorblind. VERY few of us have issues that people with normal vision imagine us to have. Granted there are times when it can be annoying, but for most applications, it just isn't a big deal. The advantage of a color display is that you can often program it to display colors which we can see, or perform a lot of other tweaks.

Basic rule of thumb to anyone out there and wants to make your charts more readable? This won't solve the problem for all colorblind people, but it will help a great deal. Avoid Purple in conjunction with red/blue. And more importantly, use different line types in graphs (---,...,***) or the one's with triangles/squares, etc.

Not only will that make a lot of colorblind people happy, but when you go into the conference room with the projector that is worn out and therefore has terrible colors, it will make EVERYONE happy.

Re:Practical Applications? (1)

NYMeatball (1635689) | about 4 years ago | (#33887358)

That's a good point - I was aware that it was primarily with red and green (and apparently yellow/blue as well? Had that come up in a UI with one of my users and he goes "I can't see the highlights!").

I guess I forgot to think about the fact that it's a limited amount of colours, and the fact that it'd just show up as....what it looks like today, which is monochrome.

DRM? (2, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | about 4 years ago | (#33886910)

So how much DRM and anti-modification features did they manage to pack into this device for $129.99?

Re:DRM? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887316)

Protip: You and RMS are the only ones who care.

TI isn't going anywhere. (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#33886914)

They've made a killing over the last 12 years selling hardware that is essentially minor improvements to their existing calculators. The differences between my TI-89 and the current TI-89s are minor, even with 12 years between them. Combine that with how TI-centric some math textbooks tend to be, and they've got the market locked down pretty tight.

Although, having colors would make it easier to differentiate plots when doing several at one time.

Re:TI isn't going anywhere. (3, Informative)

zalas (682627) | about 4 years ago | (#33887002)

Casio already had a color calculator way back when I was in high school. The curriculum still revolved around the use of the TI-83, though, so people with anything else were pretty much on their own.

Re:TI isn't going anywhere. (1)

allanw (842185) | about 4 years ago | (#33887572)

Did you know TI's educational division only accounted for 4% of their 2007 revenue?

Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33886922)

But does it run Linux? OpenWRT runs easily in 16MB of RAM. How fast is the processor? And can we hack it?

I can't tell. Limited information, for sure.

Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 4 years ago | (#33886926)

It's more expensive and less versatile than an iPod touch, or hell, even my old Zaurus from a decade ago.

The only reason that TI does so well, is that schoolteachers are pretty much trained in on it and refuse to use newer technology. A kid should be able to use whatever device he or she wants, as long as it has the requisite functionality.

Imagine, if when you took your driving tests, they only allowed VW Beetles. Now, you have to buy a Beetle to pass your driving test. Sure, there is a "market" for Camrys, but you will still need your own Beetle when the behind the wheel test comes. Car companies would scream bloody murder, that there was a totally artificial market created for Beetles, and that the lack of competition was keeping everybody invested in 1938 technology.

TI's calculator stranglehold sickens me. It should sicken everybody who thinks that competition in a market leads to better products.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 4 years ago | (#33886962)

By the way, I should have added my caveat here: Casio's new calc will fail at least in the USA and Canada, because schools generally require kids to use what the teacher uses, e.g. a TI Calc.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887166)

Require? Depends. Many places give the option to use whatever you want (with a few prohibited models) but then you're responsible for learning how to use the device on your own. Kids don't like it much when they can't follow along with the step-by-step instructions given by the teacher. Thus, everyone uses a TI because that's what the teacher has, in almost all cases.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

space_jake (687452) | about 4 years ago | (#33887212)

Not necessarily a bad thing, you only have so much time in a class and it helps when everyone is on the same page. Teaching the math and how to use the graphing calculator with a different set of instructions for each vendor/model could make a confusing subject even more confusing for the students.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33887408)

I have an Algebra book but it irritates me because it's centered on the use of a graphing calculator. It teaches Algebra... but it IMMEDIATELY begins a discussion of graphic calculators, and not as an add-on device. I'm going to write an arithmetic book that teaches the use of a Soroban; but this will be teaching math, and then it will step out to "so here's how to do addition on a Japanese Abacus... and here's how it relates to pen-and-paper columnar addition... and think about this, it makes it simple in your head." I don't want to teach people that math == device; math is a method, device is a tool.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (2, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#33887018)

That and a device like an iPod Touch isn't recognized as a calculator, so like many laptops and the TI-92, it is barred in many tests were the standard calculator form factor is permitted.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about 4 years ago | (#33887102)

Which is absolute bullshit. Devices like the one in the TFA are.. kind of atrocious. I mean, look at it. It's more buttons than screen, and it looks like 1990. Why don't they just make an app for iPod touch, or a new android device, or any other of the numerous better choices, as well as schools being more lenient on the devices which can be used?

Or maybe it's because then teachers would have to actually figure out how some stuff works, instead of just reading from a prepared paper about how the TI-xx model works since every student has it.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#33887210)

Which is absolute bullshit.

But nontheless thems are the rules. They've gotten pickier these days, some tests don't allow calculators with CAS software.

Why don't they just make an app for iPod touch, or a new android device, or any other of the numerous better choices, as well as schools being more lenient on the devices which can be used?

Because all of them are more expensive than what these cost.

Or maybe it's because then teachers would have to actually figure out how some stuff works, instead of just reading from a prepared paper about how the TI-xx model works since every student has it.

Perhaps that's beside the point?

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (2, Insightful)

space_jake (687452) | about 4 years ago | (#33887260)

While an app for a modern handheld device sounds like a great idea, it'll never fly because these have to be used during standardized testing. Text your friend (or an online service) for the solution.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 4 years ago | (#33887490)

Not that it matters, but there are at least a couple scientific calculators on the Android market.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 4 years ago | (#33887138)

Why isn't it recognized as a calculator? It's surely not because it can't "calculate." This is an example of the standardized test manufacturers creating an artificial market for TI calculators. Again, it feeds into the classroom expectation that all students drive a VW Beetle, I mean a TI calc.

Perhaps the best place to start, is to give each student the choice to use ANY little computing gadget they wish to enhance their calculation speed. Or, to ban calculators altogether in standardized tests. But, is it the schools who decide what happens during standardized testing? The states? No, it's the standardized test manufacturers.

This is an *actual* monopoly situation, supported and enhanced by the fact that states do not show any willingness to actually tackle the problems that created it.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 4 years ago | (#33887230)

Why isn't it recognized as a calculator? It's surely not because it can't "calculate." This is an example of the standardized test manufacturers creating an artificial market for TI calculators.

Most of those tests will permit this Casio calculator, most scientific calculators, all the way down to four function calculators if you really, really need it.

Or, to ban calculators altogether in standardized tests.

This, and a paring down of permitted calculator capabilities has been the norm.

This is an *actual* monopoly situation, supported and enhanced by the fact that states do not show any willingness to actually tackle the problems that created it.

But is there really a problem here?

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 4 years ago | (#33887516)

But is there really a problem here?

Besides TI charging exorbitant rates on calculators that are "approved" for use in school? (Some teachers ask you to bring calculators now.)

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (2, Informative)

jollespm (641870) | about 4 years ago | (#33887328)

It isn't allowed because it has potential to do things other than being a calculator during a test. One could load an entire text book, take photos of tests and email questions, surf the web, and any other number of activities that would be construed as cheating. It's much easier to require a real calculator, no matter how overpriced or limited they are.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33887478)

Or, to ban calculators altogether in standardized tests.

I actually support the use of THINKING TOOLS in math tests, and a calculator is a non-thought tool. Allowing the use of a calculator rots the brain, because you punch in numbers and hit enter and it does the work for you. 2x + 3(2y + 3x) + y = ? ... calculator does 2 + (3*3) and 1 + (3*2) for you, with the excuse that "students already know how to add." This is an idiotic argument; students already know how to speak German too, but after 5 years speaking English only they suddenly can't form one damn sentence.

I actually like the Japanese Soroban. At a point, it's thoughtless: you shift beads around in trained mechanical patterns. But that training is reenforcing your internal methodology, and sets up your brain to quickly computer basic arithmetic in your head. If you want to let them use a tool, let 'em use that.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 4 years ago | (#33887604)

Why isn't it recognized as a calculator? It's surely not because it can't "calculate."

The point of approved calculators for standardized testing to eliminate devices that can do things beyond the kind of assistance the test allows for, particularly things that might facilitate cheating, or which produce noise which might be distracting. See the SAT [collegeboard.com] rules, for instance.

This is an example of the standardized test manufacturers creating an artificial market for TI calculators.

Well, except that nothing restricts (either in principle or practice) the approved calculators to "TI Calculators".

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (2, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 years ago | (#33887140)

That and a device like an iPod Touch isn't recognized as a calculator, so like many laptops and the TI-92, it is barred in many tests were the standard calculator form factor is permitted.

Oooh, somebody make an iPod case that looks like a cheap-plastic boxy graphing calculator case. Fake buttons FTW.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#33887084)

The only reason that TI does so well, is that schoolteachers are pretty much trained in on it and refuse to use newer technology.

And the simple fact that even an old TI-83 is plenty for a student to use. Buying new calculators because of "oooh shiny!" is a pointless expense and does nothing to help teach kids math.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | about 4 years ago | (#33887096)

A kid should be able to use whatever device he or she wants, as long as it has the requisite functionality.

that sounds great, but you won't know whether a given substitute covers all the needs until the kid finds out 3 months into class that he can't follow along an assignment because his calculator doesn't have a function to take the tangle of an obtuse rectoid.

the only way to do it would be to give an exhaustive list required functions and features...most of which you wouldnt' be able to find if a given model had without spending a half hour with the owners manual. In the real world, you solve this problem by telling the kids what make and model to buy.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (2, Insightful)

Deag (250823) | about 4 years ago | (#33887156)

Can we just get a car analogy option for moderating?

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 4 years ago | (#33887180)

I took my driving test in a VW bug, you insensitive clod! In the snow!

Really, I did. February 1977 in a red '67 bug, Yakima, WA.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

alta (1263) | about 4 years ago | (#33887192)

The problem is there was never a standard for graphing/finance calculators. The only standard that existed was that, when a formula is input correctly (and completely different on each one) they should all have the same correct answer.

In a car, the break and gas peddals are always in the same place, same with the instrument cluster, steering wheel, parking break, etc. I can get in any car, start it up and drive around.

As for a calculator, I can graph a polynomial with a TI 83, but I'd have to get the manual out to do it in an HP39 or Casio. Hell, at one point I had a TI83 and a TI 85 and even those were shockingly different for some functions.

And yes, I agree. If someone will write a GOOD scientific calculator in software, and port it to windows, mac, ipod, android, etc.... They'll put the other calcs out of business.

And these markets are held in place by the instructors who won't learn something new... but I can't blame them entirely. They can tell a student EXACTLY what to push to get a function into their TI83, but I can't expect them to be able to do that for 3 models of calculator.

Brake, please (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 4 years ago | (#33887342)

Please? "Break" is what happens when you accelerate a manual to 90 in 5th and then engage reverse and drop the clutch. Loss of way follows, certainly, but not in a good way. "Brake" is the thing next to the accelerator. You did it twice, so it wasn't an accidental typo.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

jamesbulman (103594) | about 4 years ago | (#33887224)

Graphing Calculator [iphone-calc.com] - $1.99 on the app store right now.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33887278)

The fact that graphing calculators of quite modest specs and build still cost so much is a gooey blob of saliva in the face of idealist theories of competition.

However, the fact that graphing calculators are still of quite modest specs isn't.

The market for calculators is, basically, tests. They might also be used for homework and the occasional foray into programming; but they are basically purchased for tests. In a testing environment, wifi and 16GB of internal storage are not, shall we say, of much use in maintaining a fair testing environment.

Even if you make the "If the test is good, flashcards won't help you, and neither will notes stored on a calculator/iPod/whatever" argument(which is arguably a lot truer at higher levels), that still doesn't address the issue of network connected devices.

Imagine the following: iPod touch/iPhone with camera, internet connection, some sort of web conferencing software. Pay 29.95 at the paypal portal and, for the duration of the test if you get stuck on a problem, take a picture of it, and a suitably educated person in India solves it and sends back an image of the solution. Win/win(sort of). The cheater can get past even "mere facts won't save you" questions, and someone in a lower cost of living country makes comparatively good money solving easy problems in their area of expertise. The test, of course, becomes useless.

Intentionally limited devices for pedagogical purposes are eminently sensible. It's just that it should be pretty simple to stamp out a TI-83(or 89, the hardware doesn't exactly differ wildly) for absolute peanuts, not $100 a pop.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887352)

The big reason to "refuse to use newer technology": a TI calculator does only calculator things. It's limited in programmability, among other things. This means that kids can't just download the textbook (at least not in any readable fashion) and look at it during the test while the teacher is looking in another direction (and yes, it is completely impossible to watch 30+ kids for every minute of the test).

Cheating with calculators is a HUGE problem. If you've ever taught a course, you'd know this. It does come with the territory of allowing powerful calculators, but the idea is to at least limit the damage that can be done. Allowing kids to use anything with ANY sort of communication ability is going to be accompanied by egregious cheating.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 4 years ago | (#33887498)

It's more expensive and less versatile than an iPod touch

Well, except that the MSRP of this is less than that of the least expensive model of iPod touch, which makes the "more expensive" part hard to comprehend.

Re:Still not as versatile as an iPod Touch... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887514)

Caculators are not vehicles. They don't have standarized controls for doing things. I know it's a caculator, but some of the more advance ones have obscure ways to get to their features. I understand this is not something that *should* distract from these more advanced calculators, but most kids get a two minute tutorial on using them. Everytime we've had different calculators in the classrom, we wasted ten minutes fiddling to get them working(works only in the smaller classrooms - under 30 people). It would be insane to stop an entire 50 minute class period every time a new feature was used on the calculators. We do stop to learn it, but it usually takes about two minutes of classroom time.

I'm in college and I'd guess that about 95% of the people with better than TI-83 calculators bought them as a quick grab. They saw the caculator had more features and the money was burning in their pocket. They don't invest in the calculator outside of the class time unless it's downloading games or putting in trig. formulas so they can cheat.

Depending on the test, administrators care a lot about which calculators are used. The more advanced ones can do anything you've run in to in calculus and linear algebra with a few presses. They don't want kids learning the single button solvers because they don't teach the student what is being done.

Do caculators really matter? Only for that time you're in highschool and college. After college, everyone uses Matlab and excel to do their work. Stranglehold, yes. But it's not anywhere as horrible as you make it out to be.

This won't end TIs dominance (2, Interesting)

MmmmAqua (613624) | about 4 years ago | (#33886952)

But it will probably result in a color-screen nSpire sooner than we might otherwise have seen one. Which is A Good Thing (tm) - some of the graphing uses of my nSpire would be much nicer with color to distinguish the plots.

Re:This won't end TIs dominance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887450)

I own a Casio CFX-9850GB PLUS, which has the option to graph in a huge 3 colours, I don't remember ever seeing TI putting out a "competing" model. The 9850 is probably the most user friendly graphing calculator I have ever used.

Color or not.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33886954)

I still love my TI-89

Thats great, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33886964)

How much faster will it run Doom?

in other news (1)

waddgodd (34934) | about 4 years ago | (#33887010)

Sharp is still selling the compet printing calculators, which should be enough for most K-12 students and store clerks. Buying more calculator than you need is for suckers

Still prefer my HP48 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887022)

RPN ftw

Re:Still prefer my HP48 (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | about 4 years ago | (#33887128)

I, I, to my calculator, backwards speak, prefer.

I, of Yoda, am reminded.

Re:Still prefer my HP48 (1)

cruff (171569) | about 4 years ago | (#33887168)

Indeed, I find I still prefer my HP48SX to even the newer HP calcs. The HP50G, while a bit more capable, is too d*** wide to hold in the hand. I'm so used to RPN that I get slowed down when it isn't available.

have we see the death of RPN? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887042)

Everyone who went through a hardcore engineering program knows that RPN beats the hell out of normal algebraic calculators for doing... just about anything.

But it seems that everything has been moving away from RPN, to the extent that non-RPN calcs are even required in many schools, in spite of the superiority of RPN.

Is this another case of dumbing down our society to the least common denominator? Is anyone going through science classes at high school or univ level even using RPN calculators any more?

Re:have we see the death of RPN? (2, Insightful)

rcuhljr (1132713) | about 4 years ago | (#33887172)

Uh as someone who went through a hardcore engineering program, no. RPN was common for awhile because at some point in the dark ages of personal computing the amount of ram/rom that would be needed for a machine to convert infix to postfix was actually a sizable amount. The only arguable superiority of RPN is not needing parenthesis for order of operations, however since every child is raised from kindergarten on infix it's hardly an advantage. This isn't dumbing down of society anymore then making compilers instead of writing raw machine code by hand is dumbing down programming. There's no benefit to doing unnecessary work as an engineer just to make life easier on a computer.

Re:have we see the death of RPN? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887344)

No... RPN has more advantages than you claim, and people who have become adept at it (not just learned it as a token thing, but really learned to think in that way) almost never want to go back.

(1) You can see intermediate results of your calculations as you go along.

(2) Fewer keystrokes are needed to perform computations, so there are fewer opportunities for mistakes.

(3) For highly proficient users, RPN allows for faster use of the calculator because of not having to enter and track lots of parens.

It's a similar situation to texting on a cell phone vs touch typing. If you are used to texting and never learned to touch type, you won't truly realize how much of a superior input system touch typing is.

But more and more our world is moving away from things that require any degree of learned skill, in favor of no or low-skill methods which yield inferior results.

Re:have we see the death of RPN? (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | about 4 years ago | (#33887688)

Anecdote != data, love those citations. I guess you just want everyone off your yard.
<br><br>
(1) If this is a feature you want it's easy to replicate on an infix calculator, but I'd rather just look over my entered equation and then hit enter instead of hitting enter and checking each intermediate result, to each their own. <br><br>
(2) Is this seriously a problem for some people? These are graphing calculators, if you typo you press the left arrow and fix it<br><br>
(3) and an Abacus is faster then both so why aren't you promoting those? It could be exposure to lisp but I actually prefer parens and I like being able to easily break apart an equation into discrete chunks and deal with them as relations. I prefer my calculator input mirror my hand written notes, reverse polish notation would have made systems/connaps/statics that much more annoying for no benefit to the student. I never met a single engineering professor at school who recommended the use of RPN over infix and I can't recall ever using RPN in matlab/maple/mathematica.<br><br>
You present the same whiny doomsday arguments about how nothings as good as it was back when you did it with zero actual support for your position, congratulations AC! If there was an actual benefit to RPN it would still be taught instead of being a dead-end in the history of calculators and a standard mini project for CS students.

The next graphing calculator revolution (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 years ago | (#33887078)

will be on the Android/iPhone/whatever. It won't be a dedicated device imo. Especially as these color screens (if non e-ink) need to be charged daily/weekly instead of yearly.

And yes, I know about TI's being more desirable for school for perceived lack of cheating. But many users are past school where that is necessary. Although many math teachers I know are switching to open book tests because they figure if they ask indepth questions, you'd have to know the material and not merely regurgitate it to pass, and also because working in the real world is open book.

Re:The next graphing calculator revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887296)

No it wouln't

Standardized tests are here to stay, and a general purpose smart-phone can be trivially used to cheat on standardized tests (remember it's original purpose is as a comunication device). Any smartphone equiped student could send the content of the test to an arbitrary number of compatriots who work the problems in parallel and respond with the answeres.

Thus students will always be tought using single purpose calculators (or posibly general purpose equipment without networking capabilities) rather than phones.

The usual driver of new technology (1)

operagost (62405) | about 4 years ago | (#33887116)

This is incredible. I can't wait until the vector graphics porn converter comes out.

HP-41cx (2, Interesting)

Spectre (1685) | about 4 years ago | (#33887152)

This story makes me miss my Hewlett Packard calculator, an HP-41cx (with accessories of a mag card reader and a printer). When I studied engineering, there were two broad groupings of calculator recommended, especially when you got to classes on circuit theory: Some Texas Instruments grouping I don't remember, and the HP-41 series. Literally the recommendation was use one or the other, or you will likely fail this class due to lack of computation speed on exams.

Hewlett Packard seems to have become irrelevant in the marketplace. Very sad, long live RPN!

That left just Texas Instruments for the serious calculators that aren't full-on computers.

Sure, Casio had "scientific calculators", but they just weren't quite up to the demands back in the eighties (yes, I'm old).

It's nice to see this market getting another player, although in my mind "color graphing" is a gimmick, not a real feature!

Re:HP-41cx (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33887530)

Casio have been releasing decent graphing calculators for a while now. I got my 9850GB back in 2004 when I was in High School, it was the same price as the TI-83 and came with a tri-colour screen. At first I thought the colours were a bit useless, but now that I study engineering, it is nice when you are graphing more complex functions on top of each other.

Also, HP hasn't become irrelevant, the HP50g is a fantastic calc, and I was tossing up between upgrading to the 50g or the Nspire, but I think this new Casio might take the cake.

Re:HP-41cx (1)

leighklotz (192300) | about 4 years ago | (#33887590)

but they just weren't quite up to the demands back in the eighties (yes, I'm old).

I lusted after the HP-55 an adult friend had but when the HP-25 came out I bought that with my own money, then sold it to buy an HP-29C.
Then when the replacement for that came out, I was despondent: I remember wondering, when will it end?!?!

Lame. (3, Funny)

QuantumPion (805098) | about 4 years ago | (#33887170)

No wireless. Less space than a TI. Lame.

Yes, I RFTA'd... I'll go be in time out now (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#33887252)

Somehow I doubt that Casio officially unveiled it with a forum post.

And if we did have to link to a forum post (for some unknown reason) instead of something more official, this would have been better anyway [casiocalc.org] ...

Official website: http://www.casioeducation.com/prizm [casioeducation.com]
edu.casio.com: http://edu.casio.com/products/cg_series/fxcg10_20 [casio.com]
Manual download: http://edu.casio.com/products/cg_series/data/fxcg10_20_E.pdf [casio.com]

Models: fx-CG 10*/20
* North America only

Some of the new features:
- High-resolution color display (384*216 pixels with 2^16 colors)
- USB 2.0 support
- 16 MB flash memory
- Picture Plot functionality

TI's graphing calculators inspired a generation (2, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 years ago | (#33887272)

Those of us fortunate to own one (as opposed to merely borrowing one from the school) often go our first introduction to programming through the TIs. I personally started a collection of digital art on mine which I then used a cable to offload to PC, where it wasn't as impressive, but that foreshadowed how I would spend the next few years in calc labs - making cool 3D objects instead of doing my homework. No, students don't *need* anything this fancy. But if it encourages kids to start coding on their own, what's the harm?

casio already did this in the 90s... (1)

Michael Kristopeit 4 (1913314) | about 4 years ago | (#33887308)

casio released a color screen graphing calculator in the 90s... it had just come out when i was shopping and ended up buying a TI-85... it was junk.

Touch Screen Calculator (2, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#33887376)

You know what I would personally like to see? I would love to see some kind of touch screen tablet computing pad (something like the iPad, or Galaxy tablet, or whatever) that had a mathematics and scientific data centric focus. It would be sweet to see a product like that hit the market. I would want it to come preloaded with a good data and simulation language (something like Matlab/Simulink or Scilab/XCOS). I would want it to come preloaded with some handy mathematical functions typically found in TI calculators (matrix operations, statistics plotting, solving of symbolic integrals and derivatives). Hell, if it had WiFi access even better. For bonus points add on an uber unit conversion program with a very clean simple interface.

I don't know, maybe something like this already exists, but if it does I haven't heard about it. If any 'dotters know of one, I would love to see a link. I would happily fork over some cash for a small computing platform like this that I could carry around in my back pocket (I don't want to have to find a way to strap another satchel to my body when riding my motorcycle). Finally, making it truly rugged and badass and able to survive getting dropped in water and sand would be great. Why won't a company develop an engineer/scientist specific tablet that could be used in a multitude of environments. It would be the ultimate geek multi-tool!

Where's the "Enter" key? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 4 years ago | (#33887466)

How can it be a serious calculator without RPN? Any idea if it will be programmable enough to implement RPN? Maybe with an alternate boot ROM?

Fragility still a concern? (1)

mistapotta (941143) | about 4 years ago | (#33887500)

As a teacher who taught math in the public school system with class sets of TI's and Casio's, I'd say unless they've done something to make the Casio's less fragile, I doubt TI has much to worry about. I'd cringe when a Casio fell to the ground, as usually there'd be nothing left to work with (and I'd have to fight with parents to enforce the technology contract they signed.) With TI's, I've had the same class set for about six years, and I've replaced about four of them - two to theft, and two to students intentionally breaking screens. Just to clarify, I do teach math in Texas, so I might have a conflict of interest. But I don't.

Graphing Calculator, a Quinn Martin Production (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33887598)

...in COLOR!

advanced math (1)

big dumb dog (876383) | about 4 years ago | (#33887692)

I think Brett Favre learned to count to 21 on his cell phone.

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