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Casio Unveils New Color Screen Graphing Calculator 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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Casio Unveils New Color Screen Graphing Calculator

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  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BassMan449 ( 1356143 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:04PM (#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?

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:09PM (#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.

  • by MmmmAqua ( 613624 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:09PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:16PM (#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:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:20PM (#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.

  • HP-41cx (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spectre ( 1685 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:22PM (#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:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stregano ( 1285764 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:33PM (#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.
  • by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:37PM (#33887376) Homepage Journal
    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!
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AshtangiMan ( 684031 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:54PM (#33887554)
    I've had an HP 15C since 1987 and have changed the batteries once (about 3 years ago). RPN for the win!
  • Buttons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @05:10PM (#33887736) Homepage

    One answer that maybe nobody else will come up with: Easy UI.

    I just find it a lot faster and easier to punch up some calculations on a device that has a whole mess of purpose-built buttons on the front of it, rather than trying to do the same with a standard keyboard that was never intended for scientific calculation. You can write up programs and key them to buttons, too.

    Disclaimer: I use an HP 50g. Your experience with a TI or Casio calculator may vary. RPN, baby.

  • Re:HP-41cx (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @05:26PM (#33887904)

    Did HP start making new calculators? I thought they closed down their calculator division.

    I remember reading this and being sad: []

  • Handheld calculators have consistently disappointed me. Those that graph do so poorly. Those with complex functions make them all but impossible to use. Apart from statistics, there is not the slightest whiff of anything resembling a special function of any kind, and anything more advanced that acosh is basically nonexistant. Is it too much to ask for a bessel function to be built in somewhere?

    Some machines have matrix support, but it's generally shockingly poor sometimes restricted to 3x3 matrices and generally lacking anything above an inversion operation--if that. A lot waste resources on pie chart/spreadsheet software which is wasted on business and accounting students who are just going to end up using excel anyway; The addition of image support on some recent models simply adds insult to injury on this front.

    I could go on for hours, but I'll just add the one item that bothers me the most.

    Complex Numbers.

    It's 2010. People have mp3 players with more computing power that the Cray-1. Is it too much to ask that scientific calculators support complex numbers natively? There are still some models with over 500 functions and no complex number support! Even those models which do generally make i all but inaccessible; necessitating at best a second function shift and at worst a mode change to input or sometimes even view this most elementary of entities. Is it really so much to ask--in the 21st century--that when I input sqrt(-1) into my calculator that I get something other than MATH ERROR. There's no math error or even a maths error. There's a calculator error for having put in a square root function without considering complex numbers!!

    Going back to the main story: Curved keyboard designs are appalling and Casio need to get with the program and make a better "=/ANS" button make their bracket buttons larger a la Sharp and TI. In conclusion I'd like to buy at least one calculator before I die that was a substantial improvement on the one I purchased in 1997.

  • by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @05:49PM (#33888168)
    The fancy calculator I had when I was a kid (late 80's) was the size of a phone in 2010. Today's calculators have nothing like the processing power of a phone that costs roughly the same, yet they are now the size of ancient mobile phones. I don't get it.
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @06:03PM (#33888344)

    An artificial market for underpowered devices has been created

    Not really artificial. Worried about cheating, I'd guess. It wouldn't be too difficult with a laptop to hook up through a cell phone modem in your final and simply transmit the problems to a grad student friend.

    You *want* an underpowered device. It guarantees that it's the student coming up with the answers. And for my two cents, even this Casio is overpowered for the task. First thing I thought when I saw those graphic overlay graphs is that it would be trivial to make crib sheets and scan them into the thing. Plus it probably has an ARM processor in it, which means eventually Linux will be running on it. Once you manage that, all bets are off. Some whacko will port Maxima to it and that'll be that.

    Maybe I'm getting to that "get off my lawn" age, but if you study and have a 2 dollar calculator that can do really shouldn't need much of anything else.

  • Re:HP-41cx (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @06:36PM (#33888584) Homepage

    I have four. I don't ever want to be without one.

    After I got my first HP-41c, everyone on our engineering team ended up buying one. We loved those things and had all the add-ons, including the timer module, printer and mag card reader.

    Then one fine day the boss came in with new Sharp calculators for us all. He insisted we all standardize on a single model, so he could grab anyone's calculator and use it anytime he wanted. We pitched the HP, but were overruled. We had to keep our HP's hidden. Jerk.

    The 41c is an amazing device. I doubt they'll ever make anything like that again. The PC killed the market for any calculator with expansion ports.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @08:03PM (#33889104) Journal

    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.

    So where are the cheap chinese clones?

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by harrytuttle777 ( 1720146 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @08:10PM (#33889134)

    Theodore Grey has an excellent take on this argument, []

    The most profound engine of civilization is the inability of a larger and larger fraction of the population to do the basic things needed to survive. -- Theodore Grey

  • by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <[gro.rfeoothb] [ta] [rfeoothb]> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @08:49PM (#33889402) Homepage Journal

    Here's what I'd suggest for Casio.

    Cleanroom the TI-83+ firmware. Basically, make a TI-83+-compatible calculator. TI-83+ is the minimum standard for the curriculum, and the TI-84+ respects that, so...

    Now, add your own differentiating features on top of that, while maintaining full backwards compatibility with TI-83+ button press sequences.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @11:23PM (#33890132)

    "The same could be said for netbooks."

    No, it couldn't, they're not an artificial market. You could build a desktop for the money, sure, a crappy one. And then I wouldn't be able to take it in the car with me to play music, or throw it into a bag with my stuff when I go away for a weekend, or 101 other things that I like it to do.

    Nothing like the artificial market that specifically calls for a limited device due to a fairly arbitrary set of rules.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev