Calculator blog

Musings and comments about our common interest


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More places to find Prime software

Apparently, the HP Prime is starting to get software!

There is a specific HP Museum forum, in this URL, where the users post their software. Now, you need to know that HPmuseum, as its name suggests, has been basically geared towards old HP calculators, and preferably pre-RPL too. So HP Prime is several generations newer than the average subject there. However, most of the forum members are science professors, engineers and scientists, so they enjoy programming. Basically, what you can find there is mostly technical and quite advanced - but you can find too several utilities that improve the connectivity with the Prime.

There is a forum specifically for the HP Prime in general, and another one for software in particular.

In the software page you cannot find now a single game - but they will soon appear. There are several programs that use recursivity to calculate several fractal compositions, and several other graphical curiosities, using formulae with fascinating properties when graphed. 

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How to promote Prime (and not only in the school)

The success of the HP Prime in the student area will depend on the availability of user-developed software.

If you look to any TI-related site, you will see a wealth of software created by users, and that can be used by students for their own work. This has helped a lot to get as wide marketshare as they have.

The HP Prime is faster than most other calculator, thanks to its compiled basic. The graphic functions of the HP Prime allow it to produce good games - even in Basic. There have been several simple programs made in Basic where students can see the code that produces such results. But I think that other languages should be available for Prime, so that serious programmers put their hands on the machine. And there should be some money to be made by programmers, if anyone apart from amateurs is to be involved.

Can there be a market for apps, organized in the same way of the iOS App store or the Android App store? Width and breadth will be far from them, but some clever programmers may make some money and therefore be interested in developing for the HP Prime.

Can I share with you which apps I would like to have?

  • An app that make the HP Prime to act as a numeric keypad for a computer. Apart from the numeric keyboard, there is a very useful up-down-left-right button, and several writing aids can be programmed with the user keyboard. The USB connection is there!
  • A financial suite. We have written some programs for that, but it is still far from what is achievable - in particular when integrated with the spreadsheet app.
  • Games! If you want to make sure that youngsters buy the Prime in huge numbers,you need to make sure that there are game apps, much more comprehensive than what we have now. While the screen definition is not “retina”-level, is still very capable for creative graphical applications.
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HP12c Anniversary .

Finally, here you have one of the two new "old" calculators: the 30th Anniversary HP12c



It will ship from beginning October and we are taking orders already.

Suggested retail price is 99 €; our price will be 89,9 €


Some quotes from Wikipedia and other sources:

The HP-12C is HP's longest and best-selling product, in continual production since its introduction in  1981.   Due to its simple operation for key financial calculations, the calculator long ago became the de facto standard among financial professionals – for example, most investment banks issue HP-12Cs to the members of each incoming class of its investment banking analysts and associates. The 1977 October edition of the HP Journal contains an article by Roy Martin, the inventor of the simple method of operation used in HP financial calculators, which describes, in detail, the mathematics and functionality built by Prof William Kahan (from UC Berkeley) and Roy Martin that is still in use today.



Later HP financial calculators are many times as fast with more functions, but none has been as successful. The HP-12C's programming mode is very intuitive and works like a macro operation on a computer. Basically, the keys one would press in the calculating mode to arrive at a solution are entered in the programming mode along with logical operators (ifand, etc.) applicable to the solution. After the programming is complete, the macro will run in computation mode to save the user steps and improve accuracy. There are 99 lines of programmable memory on the HP-12C, enough to include a complete set of accurate trigonometric formulae or the complete Black & Scholes formula.

Over its lifespan, the processor's technology has been redesigned to integrate all the circuitry into a single chip and to refresh the manufacturing process (as the foundry could no longer manufacture the necessary chips, having moved on to making higher-density chips). 


In 2008, HP modified the design so that new production runs contain an ARM processor which runs an emulated version of previous chips. This has brought advanced possibilities such as flashing new firmware, not previously possible. The calculator runs 20 times faster on most benchmark operations. This version is based on the same hardware, better packaged and with a more evolved firmware (dating from July 2009 as opposed to November 2008. No idea of what the changes were).


It is important to underline that this calculator is not substantially different from the HP12c+ except on minor details and much better packaging.



This is the latest iteration of the HP12c - and it may well be the last. This package is a Collector's Edition, with a gift box, slightly thicker plastic pouch compared with the plain 12c, basic manual and a CD with the whole manual set. Excellent as a gift for a friend.



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