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Public Beta Availiable - Win/Firmware
04-17-2021, 01:09 PM (This post was last modified: 04-17-2021 01:16 PM by jonmoore.)
Post: #33
RE: Public Beta Availiable - Win/Firmware
My own view on HP's position regarding the matter of native code 'addins' is that it should be given serious reconsideration.

Whilst I'm not an educator I provide consultation services to the education market here in the UK and my partner and I have four teenagers at various school stages (pre-GCSE to A-level). On that basis, I own all Casio calculators (fx-991EX, fx-CG50 & CP400, the last of which is a subscription to the ClassPad service as the hardware is painfully slow), the Nspire CX CAS II, and a Prime (as well various HP/SwissMicros collection hardware, of which, the 50g is still my most used of the bunch). That's my personal booty, the kids have their own hardware (only one of them has the Prime hardware, but all have the iOS versions of both the Prime and ClassPad apps, thanks to Apples family sharing feature).

The reason for Casio's success in European markets (especially the UK) has nothing to do with 'cartels' (which is often the accusation thrown at TI in the US), it's simply down to their strategy of building hardware solutions specifically to education sector requirements. The 991EX stands out in particular in terms of its feature-set, as it's all that's required all the way to A-Level standard. Not bad for a calculator costing £20. Sure, its diminutive hardware can only solve toy textbook problems but it fits the UK curriculum perfectly.

As to the CG50, even though its graphing features are less powerful than either the Prime or Nspire, its UX surpasses both. And it's a superior calculator for A-Level Statistics in terms of its UX. The fact that Barnard has a near fully functional version of XCAS on the platform lift's the usefulness of the CG50 platform to greater heights (such a pity it's limited to a 2Mb app size limit). Casio sells the CG50 directly to UK students through examination boards for approx. £75 and that of course adds to it's success.

As an outside observer, HP's paranoia with regards to 'Exam Mode' appears to have been created by the fact that they mistakingly launched the Prime without an Exam Mode, and it's CAS features restricted its use from most exam board requirements in the UK (that I know with certainty) but I believe that situation was much the same with many European exam boards other than the International Baccalaureate. The lack of an Exam Mode was fixed in later OS updates but unfortunately, the damage was already done in terms of the Primes reputation amongst educators. I don't see the Prime's fortunes changing in the UK until/if a next-generation model is released (that gets the OS correct from the getgo). The years between the G1 and G2 models gave TI a chance to update their hardware (unfortunately the OS is still slow, so the processor upgrade provides smaller performance increases than otherwise expected). Yet again KniCAS to the rescue, as it's far better able to leverage the hardware.

Python provides the HP team with a new opportunity to score points with educators but the implementation, as we see it right now, provides little advance over Python implementations on other calculators. It's better than the Python implementation on Casio's CG50 but Casio have far bigger plans for Classpad as a platform in the coming years, so it will be interesting to see if they even bother launching a successor to the CP400 (the CP500 is still using the 400's painfully slow 2013 hardware, and only differs by the fact of not featuring the 400's 'softkey' QWERTY keyboard).

The Prime continues to be the best and most immediate CAS calculator on the market but that's not enough to make it succeed with educators. Where HP succeeds is with end-users. The Prime has a great reputation amongst A-level and university students doing courses where exam board derived restrictions don't apply. This reputation can only be furthered by the availability of KhiCAS and suchlike, as native code solutions. In lieu of that, I hope HP have further plans for their Python implementation than we've yet been made aware of. It would be a pity if Python on the Prime was perceived as nothing more than a 'keeping up with the Jones's effort'. The Prime hardware is far too good for its Python implementation to not leverage said hardware more fully.
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RE: Public Beta Availiable - Win/Firmware - jonmoore - 04-17-2021 01:09 PM

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