Hewlett-Packard’s New Touch Screen Calculator: HP Prime

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Hewlett-Packard has just posted a video of its new touch-screen, graphing calculator to be released in the fall of 2013.  Early information for the HP Prime includes a BASIC programming language and ability to run various solver apps. It has 32 MB of RAM, 256 MB of Flash memory, a 3.5-inch color touch-screen with 320 x 240 resolution, and will be about 10 mm thick.  It looks to be derived from the previous family of HP-39g and HP-50g graphing calculator technology, but the new model has a beautiful brushed metal look and what seems to be a cleaner keyboard design. No pricing or specific release date has been announced. It's really great to see HP continuing its tradition of quality RPN hand-held calculators for engineering and science.


Check It Out: Hewlett-Packard’s New Touch Screen Calculator: HP Prime

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Ernie Varitimos

Isn’t there an app for that?

I does look like a really cool device with high build quality, at least from the video. The screen might be a bit small to be useful, and the responsiveness of the OS, how it behaves, is going to be key.

I would just assume there would be an app that would cost 1/20 what that probably calculator costs, that does just as much, and can be upgraded.


Ernie V.
You bring up a good point. I no longer carry a calculator. I no longer wear a watch. I no longer habitually carry my camera with me. I no longer carry a lot of things that I used to, all because I can do it all with an iOS device. “There’s an App for that” is true.

Maybe a Xmas present for my brother. Depends on the price.

John Martellaro

I’ve been an HP calculator user for a long time, and I can attest to the idea that there are times when a physical calculator is preferable. And it’s a more focused, exact experience when heavy into calculations. Plus, if you’ve read my reviews of iOS calculators, you know that there are computational pitfalls for the inexperienced developer.  There is never any doubt about HP’s mathematical results, certified for the professional.
I’d write an article about this if I get enough votes.

John Martellaro

By the way, speaking to the developer’s understanding of computational science, the only iOS calculator I enthusiastically recommend is PCALC by James Thomson.  Or the official iOS calculator simulators from HP or TI.


I agree.  Sometimes one needs a “real” calculator with real buttons.  The calculator apps for the iPhone while nice, just suck with the touch interface.  I spend way too much time hitting the wrong button because my wide finger brushed the button next to the one I was trying to hit.

For very basic entry, an app is fine.  For serious calculations and entry, this wins hands-down.

Great to see HP actually trying to improve existing products like this.


I can remember my old maths tutor/coach from school, had a programable calculator. It seemed so cool back in the day.

Now, I’ve got a iPhone 5 & PCalc.

+1 for [q]I’d write an article about this if I get enough votes.[/q]


I used my HP 41C for at least 10 years.  Then another HP science calculator and for the past 10 or maybe 15 years I have used an HP 32S.  I have tried the various RPN calculators on iPod Touch and iPad,  PCalc is ok, but the physicality of the calculator is preferable to the virtual calculator.  Most days, though I use Matlab because it has incredible flexibility and is far more programmable than the HP calculators.


Please do not embed auto-playing, noisy, videos in your front page. It makes me NOT READ. Thanks.


To those who use an app on an iDevice for a calculator:  you can’t take that into the SAT/ACT/SAT II tests.  Don’t know about college classes yet (although will have first-hand reports from the kid about it this fall).

Professionally, I love H-P calculators; I started out in college with a TI-58C, and once I saw another student’s HP41, I was hooked - I worked all summer to pay for an HP41CV, and used that calculator through the rest of college and well into my professional engineering career.  Nowadays I use Matlab and Mathematica for the most part, but sometimes you just can’t beat punching on the buttons.

I like PCALC a lot, but it’s neither programmable or graphing.  However, Wolfram Alpha works pretty well for a graphing calculator substitute when checking the kid’s math homework.

John, I’d love to see an article on calculators, emulators, and iOS apps.  And if you like that stuff, you should check out William Kahan’s articles about designing the algorithms for the early H-P calculators.

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