Texas Instruments Debuts Linux-Based TI-99 Calculator

Fake News written by James Baughn on Wednesday, July 29, 1998

from the hooray-it-wont-run-windows dept.

Calculator manufacturer Texas Instruments started selling its latest graphing calculator model, the TI-99, today. The TI-99 looks like earlier models, but it is immensely more powerful. While older models run on a Zilog Z80 processor and have a proprietary OS, the TI-99 features a 486 processor and the Linux operating system. "We know 486's are obsolete," a TI engineer said. "But we were able to acquire them very cheaply. We made deals with hundred of school districts -- they give us their old computers in exchange for future discounts on TI products. With the lightweight Linux OS, the TI-99 is just as powerful as Pentium-class desktops running Windows 98."

The price for the basic TI-99 model is $299.95. It features 16MB of RAM, a 1 GB hard drive, and a color touch screen. It, of course, has powerful math and graphing software built-in to the Linux OS. More advanced models have a cellular modem, speakers, a microphone (allowing it to be used as a cheap cellular phone), and more RAM and HD space.

Scott Yarlow, a TI-99 beta tester, said, "The TI-99 with cellular modem is cool! While my Calculus teacher is droning on about the Second Derivative Test or some such bunk, I can be surfing the Net and reading the latest headlines at Slashdot and Freshmeat. The best part is that the TI-99 looks so much like my old TI-85 that my teacher doesn't have a clue what I'm doing!"

Another satisfied beta tester said, "While taking an Algebra test at summer school, I was able to post a particularly hard problem to alt.homework.algebra, and receive a solution in less than 10 minutes. I made a 100% on that test, sending my teacher into near hysterics. Thank you, Texas Instruments!"

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