I like: HP 12C AND 15C limited edition calculators

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I first saw this site when HP announced that it was getting out of personal and mobile computing devices; so my first thoughts were that the page was a spoof. Add to this the hokey page design and the bad Photoshop placement of the calculator in the hand of the politically correct stock photograph of a business man who wouldn’t remember what a HP calculator looked like in the 1970s.
Limited Edition Calculator | HP 12c and 15c
However, I do like the way that HP was prepared to celebrate its heritage in product design and an analogue user experience (look at all the buttons) in its calculator designs. It’s a trait that motor cars (think the Ford GT, Volkswagen’s new Beetle or the Fiat 500), fashion (Stüssy recycling its design archive for the past decade or more, adidas Originals and prints from the Liberty department store) and fast-moving consumer goods (throwback packaging on the likes of Mountain Dew) have already embraced.

What other technologies would you like to make a comeback? Here’s my list:

  1. Technics SL-1200 Mk4 – a version Technics classic direct drive turntable, but the Japanese market only model with detachable cables
  2. Sennheiser HD 250 linear II headphones
  3. Apple StyleWriter II printer – simple to use, portable and well-made – USB and some modern drivers please
  4. Nokia E90 – great product design, build quality and form factor – more stable Symbian software please
  5. Apple PowerBook Duo – back then Apple built a complete mobile computing solution without an optical drive but with a desktop dock which made cabling and connectivity so much easier – something that the current Apple range could learn from, back then the context of mobile computing was arguably better understood
  6. Ericsson T-39 – decent Ericsson build quality (something that SonyEricsson has failed to match), tiny handset with good call quality, no camera (which is important for some of the clients that I have), Bluetooth support, world roaming and a decent battery life
  7. Apple Adjustable keyboard – although it took up a lot of space because it looked like a beached sting-ray I managed to type on one of these a few times and it was very comfortable, although the keys aren’t as good as the ALPS switches on the Apple Extended keyboard
  8. Atari ST – the first personal computer with built in MIDI interfaces, its primitive hardware and GEM operating environment meant that the music software which ran on it was relatively easy to use and and it was reliable. It was also luggable as a device. They were also relatively easy to chain together for complex studio set-ups. I would prefer it in the specification of one of the later C-Lab licenced machines and a corresponding copy of Notator software to go with it
  9. Vestax PMC-05 – at the time when these came out a number of people including me felt that they were over-priced because of the DJ Trix signature on the mixer. In addition it was a bit of a pain to replace the faders, however having used one I can see where the money came in. I prefer the feel of these to the later Rane mixers that a lot of people liked as there wasn’t enough tactile resistance in the movement of the faders for my liking
  10. Yamaha DX11 synthesiser – although the DX7 was the most popular standalone synthesiser of its era the DX11 was more useable because it was less complex