My colleague Rob Griffiths has a special place in his heart for financial calculators—or at least one financial calculator in particular. (Witness him waxing rhapsodic about his trusty HP 12C Financial Calculator.) And I’m sure he’s not alone—lots of professionals have very strong opinions about their old, reliable business calculators. After all, many of those devices are still running well after years and years of use, handling any calculation that gets thrown at them.
Still, I hope Rob—and anyone else who feels passionately about financial calculators—stops by RLM Software’s booth in the Mobile Applications Showcase at Macworld Expo. The software maker has seven business and scientific calculators in the App Store, with three more on the way. RLM faithfully recreates the look and the feel of these old calculators, adding specific features that take advantage of the iPhone platform along the way.
“That’s our idea,” says Ricardo Lira Mattte, the “RLM” of RLM Software. “Do things simple and useable.”
Take RLM’s 17BII+ Financial Calculator, which simulates a real HP 17BII+ model. While it’s a pretty faithful recreation, editing formulas on the original calculator was a bit of a pain, so RLM added an equation editor, among other iPhone-specific features. Like RLM’s other calculators, this one supports both portrait and landscape views, so you can reorient the app to best suit whatever task you’re working on.
“We want to improve it and make it more useable for a larger bunch of people,” says Lira Matte, formerly a businessman in the energy field who took up Mac programming as a hobby in 2004. “This hobby has become a way of living,” he notes.
And that should continue. Within the next three months, look for three more RLM-built recreations of classic business and scientific calculators. The developer is working on its own version of the HP 19BII calculator, which was discontinued a decade ago; the HP 15C scientific calculator; and the HP 10C calculator that Hewlett-Packard sold more than a quarter-century ago.