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Difference between pocket computer and programmable calculator?
09-17-2022, 08:37 PM
Post: #22
RE: Difference between pocket computer and programmable calculator?
(09-07-2022 07:15 PM)Jeff_Birt Wrote:  I was just reading: https://sharppocketcomputers.com/1980-20...puters.pdf

In Part II, Mr. Saam states, "Pocket computers have a unique character - they were all battery powered, they were engineered as a complete computer system, a mainframe computer in miniature. They differed from “personal computers” and “programmable calculators” which came at the same time."

I agreed and then wondered what really differentiates a pocket computer from a programmable calculator? A QWERTY keyboard? Intended market? What makes a HP-41 a programmable calculator but an HP-71 a pocket computer?

Good point. A poor article indeed. Perhaps one can see some value in its historical overview and reasons why such a thing as a "Pocket Computer" exists or existed. Generally confuses "Pocket Computer" with pocket(able) computer and hand-held computers. Capitalization refers to a definition. But the author fails to adequately define a "Pocket Computer" (capitalized) which is in fact intentionally written "Pocket Computer" in the introduction, rather the paper characterizes a "pocket computer" as "a battery-powered hand-held computer system. Small in size, lightweight, durable, reliable, and low-cost ($100-200.) It was designed as a complete system with immediate access to its programs, data, and functions." and "[...] engineered as a complete computer system, a mainframe computer in miniature." Right. That's a "hand-held computer". This covers many types of small devices available in the 80s. Later the paper states that "The pocket computer was easier. Its BASIC interpreter is already in read–only memory (ROM), and is ready with a switch from RUN to PROGRAM mode." OK, so that gets closer perhaps what he meant by a "Pocket Computer", but that's under the section "Pocket computers for learning to write a program" implying that BASIC programmables are a subset of pocket computers, hence "pocket computers" (lower case). A "pocket computer" is just any device that is a small affordable hand-held computer system. As opposed to "Pocket Computer" that is BASIC programmable, which was perhaps intended by the author? Still, "pocket computer" leaves too much to the imagination. Are memo writers, data banks, check writers, organizers, programmable calculators, pension calculators, aviation navigators therefore "pocket computers", whereas BASIC programmables are "Pocket Computers"? They were certainly marketed as "Pocket Computers" by certain brands. Clever. Who would have though about that? Smile

- Rob

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RE: Difference between pocket computer and programmable calculator? - robve - 09-17-2022 08:37 PM



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