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In the past month, Cemetech has been at the forefront in announcing Texas Instruments latest and greatest color-screen graphing calculator, the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. Although this is a first for TI's z80 calculator line (the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus series), it is not a first for SAT/ACT-allowed graphing calculators. The Casio Prizm, the fx-CG10 and fx-CG20, was the first color-screen graphing calculator, released nearly two years ago to bring a high-resolution screen and color graphing to students. Cemetech followed that calculator with interest, leading the programming community's efforts to build both educational software and games to the new device.

Now, perennial graphing calculator contender Casio has fired the latest salvo in the arms race of calculator features, updating its ClassPad line with the fx-CP400 calculator. I previously reviewed the ClassPad 330, a device with a huge monochrome (portrait-oriented) touchscreen. With a stylus or your finger, you could write out symbolic equations to solve with the device's CAS, work with spreadsheets and documents, and graph in 2D and 3D. The new fx-CP400 calculator is a refresh of the ClassPad line, replacing that big monochrome display with an equally-big, even higher-resolution color touchscreen. From the released screenshots, the CAS appears to resemble modern computer CASes in features and complexity. The major features, as we see them:

:: Major changes: giant color touchscreen, more modern case design
:: Adds the ability to display in horizontal or vertical orientation, which the ClassPad 300 series lacked
:: Brings some of the real-world/picture graphing features of the Prizm to the ClassPad series
:: Offers 500KB RAM to users; appears to have at least a 2-4MB RAM chip
:: Like the Prizm, appears as a USB Flash drive when connected to a computer. It has a 32MB (possibly 64MB) Flash chip for us programmers to fit our works into.

Needless to say, as a bipartisian calculator website, Cemetech is excited about the latest offerings from every graphing calculator company. Our primary concern is how programmable each new calculator model will be, and how it will give students and others the opportunity to learn programming on each device. We also appreciate how important the clear math pedagogy of each calculator is, and we look forward to seeing how students and teachers will respond to both TI and Casio's latest offerings. We will do our best to bring you hands-on looks at the TI-84+CSE and the Casio fx-CP400 as soon as possible.

do you think they will do a promotion where we can get these for free like they did with the prizm's?
flyingfisch wrote:
do you think they will do a promotion where we can get these for free like they did with the prizm's?
I think that it's unlikely until a few months or a year into the device's availability, if at all, but I am in touch with my Casio contacts to see if I/we will be able to get a device early to play with and review.
KermMartian wrote:
flyingfisch wrote:
do you think they will do a promotion where we can get these for free like they did with the prizm's?
I think that it's unlikely until a few months or a year into the device's availability, if at all, but I am in touch with my Casio contacts to see if I/we will be able to get a device early to play with and review.


Wouldn't they want to get as many of these into the american market as they can to compete with the nspire? also, i wasnt expecting it to happen right away, just wondering if they would do it some time in the future.
I think this would indeed be a serious Nspire contender, especially with that massive color screen and the Matlab-esque math GUI. The sticking point is likely to be the price, though; with that color screen, I bet they're going to have to push the price to at least $150, if not $200.
This is really neat! I love the you described it as an "arms race", because it really does seem to be turning into that. It's a very exciting time to be a calculator enthusiast.
KermMartian wrote:
I think this would indeed be a serious Nspire contender, especially with that massive color screen and the Matlab-esque math GUI. The sticking point is likely to be the price, though; with that color screen, I bet they're going to have to push the price to at least $150, if not $200.


so wouldn't they want to give away some for free so that people will want to pay that price?
merthsoft wrote:
This is really neat! I love the you described it as an "arms race", because it really does seem to be turning into that. It's a very exciting time to be a calculator enthusiast.
Thanks. Smile I described it as such because it feels like Casio and TI are really upping the ante on each other, leading to a lot more innovation than we have seen in a long time. Between 1999 and about 2009, the biggest things that happened in the calculator community were nine more MHz and a handful of KB or ROM added to some calculators. In the last three or four years, we've seen big steps in processors (ARM and SH3/4), a proliferation of color screens and touch screens, and especially advances in the willingness of TI and Casio to recognize the marketing power that the enthusiast community has among students looking to use their calculators as computers, PDAs, and gaming consoles.
flyingfisch wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
I think this would indeed be a serious Nspire contender, especially with that massive color screen and the Matlab-esque math GUI. The sticking point is likely to be the price, though; with that color screen, I bet they're going to have to push the price to at least $150, if not $200.


so wouldn't they want to give away some for free so that people will want to pay that price?
Given that none of us are Casio, all we can do is speculate...
merthsoft wrote:
flyingfisch wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
I think this would indeed be a serious Nspire contender, especially with that massive color screen and the Matlab-esque math GUI. The sticking point is likely to be the price, though; with that color screen, I bet they're going to have to push the price to at least $150, if not $200.


so wouldn't they want to give away some for free so that people will want to pay that price?
Given that none of us are Casio, all we can do is speculate...


yup, you're right. Smile
That actually reminds me of the TI-PLT prototype a bit. Though this has a much nicer screen of course.
TheStorm wrote:
That actually reminds me of the TI-PLT prototype a bit. Though this has a much nicer screen of course.
Considering that the first ClassPad was released to the public in early 2003 (according to Wikipedia) and the PLT prototypes are from 2002, I think it's likely that TI got wind of Casio's ClassPad prototypes and was working on a competing project. Smile It seems like HP had a similar project planned as well, which they canned.
Wow. I think this is great, that TI and Casio are dueling - innovation can only benefit us. I agree with Merth, it's an exciting time to be a calculator enthusiast!
I wonder how this may relate to this: http://www.cemetech.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8237

Also, they really seem to like working with just 500KB of RAM... I love how their code must be optimized to fit in that (look at eActivity on the fx-CGs and the fx-9860Gs, it's a pretty advanced software which even simulates multitasking, yet still manages to be very fast and runs on just 500+500KB of RAM).
This will get my money far before the 84+ C SE ever will. The 3D graphing, touchscreen, and specs similar to the prizm's have me sold.
Besides the screen, the hardware specs look inferior to those of the Clickpad Nspires... so we're talking about technology that could have been good for 2006. Needless to say, we're at the end of 2012...
Lionel Debroux wrote:
Besides the screen, the hardware specs look inferior to those of the Clickpad Nspires... so we're talking about technology that could have been good for 2006. Needless to say, we're at the end of 2012...


The hardware is not at all the most important for me. Wink
This big screen combined with a touchscreen, cas and 3d graphs (?) is quite interesting.
Yumm, slashdot traffic. Relatedly, the comment section of that article is exactly why TI needs to step up their game as far as appealing to engineers/science types. About every 3rd post is "why should I use this instead of an HP-48" or "why should I use this instead of matlab".
elfprince13 wrote:
Yumm, slashdot traffic. Relatedly, the comment section of that article is exactly why TI needs to step up their game as far as appealing to engineers/science types. About every 3rd post is "why should I use this instead of an HP-48" or "why should I use this instead of matlab".
Absolutely, which is something that we've been saying for ages. Smile I think the Nspire CX CAS just isn't cutting it as far as what engineers and professionals want to use.
Yeah, that's an understatement. The Nspire series is tailored for teachers and standardized testing, not for the real world (since these are, sadly, highly disconnected)...
  
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