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Last Thursday, Cemetech was the first source to break the story of the new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition color-screen calculator from Texas Instruments. Since then, the story spread to TechPoweredMath, Ars Technica, Engadget, and a popular article on tech site Slashdot. We updated the original article here at Cemetech with details added by Adriweb from TI-Planet, namely that the LCD would be 320x240, the CPU would be a z80, and the battery would be rechargeable. We consolidated all of the known features into an every-growing guide to the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, also linked at the bottom of this article.

Now, thanks to a discussion between TI official Dave Philbrick and Lucas of TechPoweredMath, we have important details about the software on the new calculator:

:: The [MODE] menu will be expanded with options to control the new color features, just as the menu was expanded for the TI-84+
:: "[P]rograms that rely on pixel location won’t display correctly due to the TI-84+ C’s much higher resolution". This implies that TI-BASIC programs will have access to all the pixels on the new screen, which is an exciting development for programmers.
:: The calculator's OS will be keystroke-compatible with the existing TI-84+/SE, meaning that existing books and tutorials will apply to this new calculator. It also means that the calculation system inherited from the first TI-82 nineteen years ago is more or less intact, other than the MathPrint improvements.
:: TI will be shifting educator focus to the TI-84 Plus C, but it will not abandon the TI-Nspire at all, according to Philbrick. This debunks my personal theory that the TI-84 Plus C would replace the non-CAS TI-Nspire calculator.
:: Existing z80 Apps will not work on this new calculator. Both TI's Apps and our community Apps will have to be ported to the new device.

These new details mean that both BASIC and Assembly programmers will have a lot of work on their hands converting existing programs to work on the new calculator. What do you think about all these details, now that we have a lot more information about the new calculator? We will continue to do our best to bring you up-to-the-minute news on this exciting new calculator as soon as we have it!

More Information
All about the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition

Breaking!
New images have been contributed by Omnimaga's vijfhoek, and can be found in this imgur gallery. Particularly interesting is the charging port on the side.

Wow! I wanted some more updates (I need to log in to cemetech when I visit more often), I can't wait for new progress
It would be really nice if it was backwards compatible with old programs and the display was scaled. Maybe they will change this before the final testing... At least porting existing programs over shouldn't be too bad since it has a z80.

*Edit* Wow, my rushed post was sloppy as hell. Sad Fixed.
Thanks, nor can we. As I said in the article, we'll do what we can to bring you the earliest updates available. As far as the contents, by far the most important item for me is that all old ASM programs that directly index pixels (and old BASIC programs, too) will need to be re-written for the new calculator. What will this mean for all of the existing programs? I certainly will do my best to make Doors CS 7 the best and brightest of TI-84 Plus C shells, for starters, and we as a community will have to discuss what sort of libraries a TI-84+CSE shell should expose.

Edit: Art_of_Camelot: I certainly agree with that; we'll see what new details come out. They have thus far been careful to note that this is not the finished specs and software, merely a prototype.
It sucks about the compatibility. Hopefully there is an emulator done to run older programs somewhere after that calc is out. But again when the 83+ came out all programs for AShell, SOS and old 83 Ion programs didn't run either.
DJ_O wrote:
It sucks about the compatibility. Hopefully there is an emulator done to run older programs somewhere after that calc is out. But again when the 83+ came out all programs for AShell, SOS and old 83 Ion programs didn't run either.
Yup, although MirageOS did attempt to implement TI-82 emulation for Crash/Ash programs. The options I see are:
1) Port over all the programs
2) Convince them to add a compatibility layer
3) Write a user-hinted recompiler or something with routines that expose a fake graphbuffer and an iFastCopy clone for the new LCD
4) Find a way to do on-the-fly compatibility.
All pretty theoretical until we see hardware.
@Elfprince: Yea, that's true. We won't really know until full specs are released or we actually have one in our hands. :/
Well, as I mentionned in another post (although I don't think it's here), I do not recall anyone ever saying that they managed to get MirageOS 82 emulation to work. I myself never did either. However I bet it would be possible to do what you mention in 3) or that a community member writes a compatibility layer or shell (I assume most issues will be due to the LCD and memory addresses)

Porting all the programs is what people did with 82/83 programs on the 83+, but it would obviously take a lot of people who are willing to do so, especially with how many programs there are. Also some programs are very large so if porting stuff is hard, some programs might take months to get ported if their authors are gone and can't port it themselves.
320x240 and it's still a Z80? Well that sucks.
From what DrDnar and a few others says, the screen driver, if good enough, might help for graphical processing speed and that the reason why the TI-84 Plus wasn't much faster was that its LCD driver was a bottleneck, but I'm still not convinced there won't be a speed decrease when you're dealing with about 200 times more graphical (assuming the screen is 65536 colors like the TI-Nspire CX)
Keep in mind that the driver using a color pallet would reduce that to 256 colors out of a choice from 65536. That's a lot less work.
willrandship wrote:
Keep in mind that the driver using a color pallet would reduce that to 256 colors out of a choice from 65536. That's a lot less work.
If that will indeed be something offered. Most modern SSD1289/LIDD-style displays offer just such a feature from the LCD driver itself, meaning that you can load a palette to be used until a new palette is loaded, without any necessary translation by the host. It would be especially cool if there was a 3-bit mode for programs that wanted even more speed.

Don't forget that it might be well-nigh impossible to have splashscreens of a decent size and/or color depth, especially if we are still stuck at the 8KB limit for programs (which I really, really hope is not the case).
Quote:
3) Write a user-hinted recompiler or something with routines that expose a fake graphbuffer and an iFastCopy clone for the new LCD
LLVM to the rescue?
An 8kb program limit would be ridiculous on this machine. Not to mention that the reason for the size limit is no longer valid. Hopefully they remove that.
Using a Z80 on this machine is also ridiculous (though I'm glad they did it).

The size limit was to encourage use of the SDK for paid FLASH applications. Perhaps they're considering reviving that.
AHelper wrote:
Quote:
3) Write a user-hinted recompiler or something with routines that expose a fake graphbuffer and an iFastCopy clone for the new LCD
LLVM to the rescue?


Not for most stuff. Distinguishing code from data is the achille's heel of essentially all disassembly.
KermMartian wrote:
Thanks, nor can we. As I said in the article, we'll do what we can to bring you the earliest updates available. As far as the contents, by far the most important item for me is that all old ASM programs that directly index pixels (and old BASIC programs, too) will need to be re-written for the new calculator. What will this mean for all of the existing programs? I certainly will do my best to make Doors CS 7 the best and brightest of TI-84 Plus C shells, for starters, and we as a community will have to discuss what sort of libraries a TI-84+CSE shell should expose.

Down with MirageOS! DoorsCS will finally reign supreme!

As for libraries to expose, I can't think of any fundamentally different principles for libraries, except that we get color now. The same types of libraries that are available in DoorsCS should be available on the new calc.
“[P]rograms that rely on pixel location won’t display correctly due to the TI-84+ C’s much higher resolution”

At the risk of speaking a bit too soon here, if basic Pxl* commands can't even display correctly (not even just showing an image restricted to the upper-left portion of the screen), then that's just plain lazy, to put it politely. Now ASM compatibility is a tough one, I understand that, but when they don't even bother to update the TI-BASIC commands to function in a reasonable manner? Unless I'm reading too much into that and he just means the result would merely be like what happens when e.g., you run an 89 BASIC program on a 92+/V200 (it works and is usable, but only uses part of the screen).
Travis wrote:
“[P]rograms that rely on pixel location won’t display correctly due to the TI-84+ C’s much higher resolution”

At the risk of speaking a bit too soon here, if basic Pxl* commands can't even display correctly (not even just showing an image restricted to the upper-left portion of the screen), then that's just plain lazy, to put it politely. Now ASM compatibility is a tough one, I understand that, but when they don't even bother to update the TI-BASIC commands to function in a reasonable manner? Unless I'm reading too much into that and he just means the result would merely be like what happens when e.g., you run an 89 BASIC program on a 92+/V200 (it works, but only uses part of the screen).


Basic programmers do lots of crazy stuff like combining pixel coordinates with graph screen coordinates (Line(), Circle(), etc), and we don't know if Text() will still use that 4x6 pixel font (I'd say that's fairly unlikely given the pixel density)
  
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