Link: Your Own Old-School Computer ☍

Shared on December 18, 2012

Casey Johnston for Ars Technica shares the news that Texas Instruments TI-80 series of graphing calculators is finally getting a model with a color display:

But the increasing ubiquity of smartphones finally played a role in pushing TI to give the TI-80 line a color screen. “If you look at the transition of your screens that used to be on a smartphone seven years ago versus the screens you see today, seeing what they can do helps [educators] explore those capabilities,” she said. I asked [Director of Communications and Web Strategy at Texas Instruments Tysun] McKay directly if TI saw the growth of smartphones as a common personal device as a threat to the graphing calculator’s niche. She said the company is not worried.

I remember fondly the days of having a TI-80 (it was the odd-duck extra-cheap model) and a TI-83 Plus in junior high and high school and there was a lot of technology in a relatively durable and low-powered device. Granted, they had about as much power as a computer from the early 1980s, but it was still fun to use BASIC and write programs or download things from the Internet over the slow 2.5mm data connector. While I understand the need for a disconnected device for testing, I’m surprised there hasn’t been some sort of better, happier medium with graphing calculators and smartphones/tablets/iPod touch-like decides.

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