New HP49G Calculator
On May 21st, 1999, at the OpenHP Conference in Paris, France, Hewlett Packard announced the HP49G graphic calculator. The following information comes from Jean-Yves Avenard of HP's ACO (Australian Calculator Operation).
Click here for the HP49 FAQ, including prices and availability information
- 512KB of RAM
- 2MB of flash memory (1MB used for upgradable ROM, 1MB available to user)
- 4MHz Saturn CPU
- 131x64 pixel screen (black instead of blue, so higher contrast)
- 51-key keyboard with tactile rubber keys
- This is not the same type of keyboard as the HP48 has but it is still an HP quality keyboard. Rubber keys don't always mean bad quality, as there are a lot of mechanical parts to make a keyboard.
- The feeling is extremely similar to the HP48 keyboard. Do you really think that HP could let a new product go out of its doors with a keyboard that will break after 6 months?
- New keyboard layout - a user friendly keyboard that incorporates the strengths of the existing RPN keyboard layout and the more familiar algebraic style keyboard layouts on the HP 38G, TI-83 and TI-89.
- Metallic blue case with a translucent blue-tint slide-on cover. You can put it in the HP48's case if you prefer a soft case.
- No IR, but an HP49<->HP49 cable is provided (adapter included for connection to HP48). There were problems in some countries with some teachers fearing the HP48 would be used to cheat because of the IR port.
- RS-232 serial port with Kermit (binary, ASCII) and Xmodem (128 checksum, 1K, 1K CRC) running at 9600 bps (15360 bps internally, but no PCs support that speed)
- Any unit may be directly connected to a data-logger, overhead projector, a personal computer or another HP 48G Series or HP 49G graphing calculator
- The hardware is not expandable, but the ROM can be software-upgraded and there is plenty of memory, so this should not be a problem
- Even though the Saturn can only access 512K of memory, a new bank switching routine is used, in addition to absolute addresses, making it much faster
- The user sees three ports of memory: Internal System RAM (256KB, port 0), Extended RAM (256KB, port 1), and Flash User ROM (1MB, port 2)
- The system will manage how to copy your files for you, so there is no need to get lost in a bank
- Step-by-step solving option that enables you to learn how to get the right answer numerically or symbolically
- The most complete built-in Computer Algebra System (CAS) currently available on a calculator for fast, advanced symbolic manipulation and solving
- Imagine an HP48 with Erable and ALG48 plus everything that is missing. Now speed it up so it can compete (and be faster) than anything else on the calculator market. That's the HP49's CAS.
- Inferential and Descriptive Statistics (suitable for Advanced Placement and College/University level statistics)
- A fast, flexible and intelligent Editor for isolating, editing, manipulating and evaluating text, equations, expressions, sub-expressions, programs and graphs
- Input and Output Customization - choose between "textbook" form (pretty print), algebraic and RPN input and "textbook" and algebraic output in various font styles and sizes
- When you first boot the machine, it's an algebraic machine. If you don't like algebraic mode, simply press Mode, select "RPN" and that's it. You're back to the HP48 Reverse Polish Notation mode forever and ever (at least until you clear the memory or manually switch back to algebraic). It works EXACTLY like the HP48, but faster.
- Between 10 and 100 times faster than the existing HP 48G Series
- The OS has been completely rewritten, mainly in assembly language, so nearly everything that was slow on the HP48 works faster, including input forms, choose boxes, stack display, command line, file manager, etc. When I say faster, I mean MUCH faster. The HP49 is even faster than an HP48 with the MetaKernel running in it.
- There is no longer a built-in equation library but the constants library remains
- Do you think the 4MHz CPU is slow? The 3D real-time plotter can draw 6 frames (for a 14*14 points matrix) per second...It's faster than any current competitors! You can rotate in real time over the X axis, Y axis and even the Z axis.
- Provides four programming languages:
- HP Basic: like a hybrid between RPL and BASIC. This does not have GOTO and cannot really be called BASIC, as it looks like the HP38G's programming language. Example code:
IF I+1-5==50 THEN DISP("Hello World",2) ELSE DISP("I'm off",2) END
- User RPL: Just like the HP48's built-in language. To reuse a User RPL program from an HP48, send it to the 49 using ASCII Kermit.
- System RPL: Development software, including disassembler, built into ROM but not supported
- Assembly language: Development software, including disassembler, built into ROM but not supported
- Grayscale support (in ASM as well as System RPL). All System RPL graphic routines work on grayscale graphics.
- Vectorized Interrupt System (add your own interrupt handler)
- To run an HP48 application on the HP49, just recompile it. It will probably run faster, too, especially if it uses the GUI
- Entry points have moved to make the ROM easier to maintain, but programs will still be compatible at the source code level
The HP49 is the most powerful calculator ever announced at any time. It works in two ways: one fully compatible with the HP48 series, including RPN but faster, and the other algebraic, easy for users of other calculator brands to learn to use.
Although you may not agree with some of the specifications above, please wait until you touch it before complaining. After all, the HP49 was developed by HP48 users and tested by HP48 users!
Top of the final HP49G. Some images on the Internet are of prototypes and others aren't even real, but this is the real thing: the actual HP49G calculator. Click here for a larger (180KB) version of this photo.
Bottom and slide-on cover of the final HP49G. Notice that the back is black and textured just like the HP48's case, unlike what photos of early prototypes indicated. The slide-on cover slides on from the bottom and is translucent with a slight light-blue tint. Click here for a larger (101KB) version of this photo.
More photos of older prototypes may be found at Samuel Hocevar's web site.
Part of the HP Calculator Archive,
Copyright 1997-2000 Eric Rechlin.