TI accepts reality, adds color screen to latest calculator

Texas Instruments releases its first graphing calculator with a color screen, nearly 21 years after releasing its first graphing calculator.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. Texas Instruments

It's almost like a "Wizard of Oz" moment for Texas Instruments, which is opening the door to color displays on its popular calculators.

Next month, the semiconductor and educational technology giant is launching the $165 TI-Nspire CX handheld, its thinnest and lightest graphing calculator ever. The specs completely blow away the TI-84 that I used in college.

Thankfully, TI has moved away from the monochromatic screen of yesteryear and boasts that the CX has a 3.2-inch 16-bit color LCD (320x240) with a respectable 125 DPI. TI also bumped up the memory in the CX series compared to previous TI-Nspire models with 100MB of onboard storage and 64MB of RAM. I can imagine hackers are already salivating to get Doom and Game Boy Color emulators running on this thing as soon as possible.

Of course, the real strength of a TI calculator is its ability to handle higher-level mathematic concepts. The TI-Nspire CX is designed for pre-algebra, algebra 1 and 2, trigonometry, geometry, pre-calculus, statistics, business and finance, biology, physics, chemistry, and calculus classes.

An alternate Computer Algebra System (CAS) model is also available and is approved for standardized testing, such as the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, ACT, AP, IB, and Praxis exams. I wonder if it can calculate how many commas were in my last two sentences.

The CX series also offers an "easy glide" touch pad that works like a mouse as you drag your finger across it. TI has dropped AAA batteries in this model and implemented a rechargeable battery that gets 100 hours on a single charge and can be recharged via the nonproprietary USB port. There is also support for a new Wi-Fi attachment and Nspired Learning, which is TI's new educational platform that allows math and science teachers to create interactive lessons for their students.

You can even hook up some pretty nifty sensors to a TI-Nspire for scientific data collection. Further analysis of TI-Nspire CX features can be found at Tech Powered Math.

And don't forget to soup up your CX with the colorful slide cases in dark blue, black, and the loud-looking "EZ Spot Yellow."

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