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Saturday, September 22, 2012

TI-84 ripoff

Every few years I seem to be required to shell out another $100 or more for a lousy calculator for one of my kids.  At this point, I can practically buy a laptop for that price.  Why doesn't Texas Instruments have any competition in "graphing calculators"?!  This cartoon from says it all:

I see from Amazon that Casio and HP both have "graphing calculators" that are currently selling in the $40 range, but they also have higher priced versions.  And you can't send a kid to school with one of those if everyone else has the TI-84.  A commenter on Straightdope suggests getting a TI-82 on eBay for $20 or so; and it looks like you might be able to get a TI-83 on eBay for about $30.

But seriously, it's clearly a case of TI capitalizing on the "lock-in" effect of teacher after teacher requiring the purchase of TI graphing calculators.  Somebody -- some school, some school district -- needs to step in and break the cycle.  Either that, or someone just needs to create a decent "graphing calculator" app, so that the kids can simply use their phones in class.

For all I know, someone has already done that.  I see there are graphing calculator apps for droids and i-stuff.  It's really up to the teachers and the schools now.


  1. If the Chinese could build full Android dual core phones for $100 could you imagine how much pure profit they are raking off these antiques?

  2. Well, the Washingtonpost has finally picked up this story. Lots of good -- AND EXTREMELY ANNOYING -- detail here:

    Texas Instruments should be massively ashamed of taking advantage of beleagured parents this way. One sad update to this story is that my own son has trouble doing math WITHOUT the stupid TI-84 -- he learned that archaic piece of junk so well that he doesn't understand the math concepts underlying it.