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Difference between pocket computer and programmable calculator?
09-08-2022, 07:31 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2022 09:25 AM by C.Ret.)
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RE: Difference between pocket computer and programmable calculator?
The difference between a pocket computer and a calculator is so tenuous that over time, I resolved myself, failing to find an absolute discriminating factor, my own rule.

So unfortunately, I have to inform you that you are all wrong! The difference is not a question of programming language, size, type of display, memory capacity, processor speed, networking, etc.

The really very true discriminating factor actually comes from the keyboard. Not that it is QWERTY, AZERTY or ABCDEF, but whether or not it only has neutral-use keys like on the keyboard of a typewriter.

A priori, the four essential keys of a calculator are the keys + - × and ÷ or for their equivalent on the keyboards of the typewriters + - * and /. If this is the only way to detect with certainty the four operations and the most rudimentary calculating machines; it is unfortunately four symbols also present on typewriters, teletypes and other telecommunications tools or computers. These four keys are therefore not usable to tell the difference on pocket's.

No, dear friends, the only real difference between pocket calculators and pocket computers is the presence of dedicated keys for trigonometric calculations of SIN COS and TAN as well as LN and EXP for logarithmic calculations. Authentic pocket calculators necessarily have at least one or other of these keys usually grouped together or aligned on their keyboards. These functions being obviously the primary function and the raison d'être of these keys; calculate sine, cosine or tangent with a single tap.

Authentic pocket computers have only a neutral keyboard generally approaching that of a typewriter while being generally very badly organized or rather mixed. The only dedicated keys state validation keys ENTER, RETURN, SEND, EXE, LINE FEED or other END LINE, etc.

There are obviously all the intermediate situations, there can be computers which try to pass themselves off as a calculator by having the function sin cos or tan and log, ln or exp as a secondary function. Usually, these functions are part of the keyboard overload.

So whatever you think of it, the HP-41C is indeed a calculator. It has the SIN COS TAN direct keys neatly lined up in that order on the second row, just below LOG and LN direct keys. Same layout for the CASIO fx-602p...
The same for the Ti-57 LCD or II...
The same goes for the HP Prime, the HP-48 or HP-50 which are all calculators. As well as the HP-10C HP-11C, HP-15C or the TI-92

On the other hand, the HP-12C is a pocket computer as well as the HP-28C/S, no keys dedicated to SIN COS or TAN.
Likewise, the Ti58 and Ti59 are indeed pocket computers; in fact, to use their historical designation, pocket programmable!.

Same discrimination between SHARP PC-1211, SHARP PC-1350 pocket computers and SHARP EL-5100, SHARP PC-1401 or SHARP PC-G850V pocket calculators.

The HP-75 is a real pocket computer, on the other hand the HP-71B is a pocket computer which tries to pretend to be a calculator; logarithmic and trigonometric functions are indicated as secondary functions and do not have a dedicated direct key.
It is the same with the CASIO fx-702p whose calculator functions are all secondary...

This is how my classification works.
For lack of having found a serious and reliable discriminating factor, I have been using this rule of thumb for years. And it is important to make the difference between a pocket calculator (feminine gender in French grammar) and a pocket computer (masculine gender in French); not knowing the difference between the two is like confusing boys and girls.

Obviously, the reality is much more complicated and certainly more ambiguous; all cases of figure are possible nowadays...
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RE: Difference between pocket computer and programmable calculator? - C.Ret - 09-08-2022 07:31 AM

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