If you follow the educational calculator scene, you may have noticed that Texas Instruments and, to a lesser extent, Casio are dominating the market. Surprisingly at first glance, Hewlett-Packard never broke into the education market, even if the HP calculators are arguably superior in many aspects. After all, engineers plebiscite them. To convince you, check the aftermarket value of a 40-year-old HP-15C. One apparent reason for such repeated failure is undoubtfully the lack of any form of marketing. Even worst, the HP Prime – the flagship HP calculator introduced in 2013 – is literally abandoned.
More confusing, try the following experiment: go to https://www.hp.com/us-en/calculators.html; you will be invited to learn more about HP’s Official Licensee. When you follow the only link on the page, you land on this page. That is if you are located in the Americas. You can then read the following footprint: HP is a trademark of HP Inc. or its affiliates used by Royal Consumer Information Products under license from HP Inc. Manufactured under license by Royal Consumer Information Products. Limited warranty provided by the manufacturer. Royal is a company famous for manufacturing typewriters since 1905 and a few insipid desktop calculators. If you do the same experiment from Europe – use your VPN if you are not on the old continent – then you will land on Moravia Consulting‘s, a Czechoslovak company’s web instead.
You may recall that in 2015, then Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman split the company into two entities. HPE – for Enterprise products – and HP Inc. – for personal computers and printers. Unfortunately, during the operation, HP jettisoned its entire calculator business. Thank’s to Klaas Kuperus‘ HHC 2022 talk (HP Calculators Distribution), we can learn where the division landed. Indeed, Klaas, a Moravia Consulting employee, explains how HP licensed its entire calculator business to Moravia for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Royal for the USA, Canada, and South America.
Based on the presentation, we can have some hope, as Moravia is ramping up on understanding the HP technologies and has several plans for developing new products in the future. However, the company seems to focus wisely on reenergizing the existing product line, essentially the amorph HP Prime. I hope they will succeed and do a better job than HP did in promoting their calculators. I can only dream of a situation where we would choose between licensed HP and SwissMicros calculators. Yummy!
2 thoughts on “Moravian Royal Prime”
This makes me so sad. When I was a young engineering student in the late 60s, the name Hewlett Packard was synonymous with gold class quality and breathtaking innovation in electronic instrumentation. Then in 1968 they released the HP9100A programmable Reverse Polish Notation desktop calculator, which gave me my first introduction to RPN. Then I used an HP65 programmable calculator at work and owned a HP35.
Thne, step by step HP morphed into a maker of cheap plastic printers and other consumer toys. The quality stuff, the bleeding edge electronic and medical instrumentation was separated out under a different brand, while the honourable HP name was prostituted in the street of consumerism.
I used HP calculators throughout my whole career, and currently have on on my desk, one on my computer and one in my phone. The reason they didn’t catch on in education is probably because people, maybe especially teachers, just don’t “get” RPN. It is so much more than just a kinky way of doing sums – it is far more flexible than the parenthetic notation that is drilled into us by schools. Beta vs VHS all over again – the best technology does not necessarily prevail.
And now I learn that if my ageing HP33s finally dies I may not be able to replace it. Thank goodness for phone apps!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, David. Your comment on VHS vs. Beta is spot on. Chuck McCord, in his What if? talk – here (https://youtu.be/vs82uW-fmcI?t=756 – ~12 minutes in and ~14 minutes in on VHS/Beta ) has a different take on it :).