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Mobile 'phone as calculator accessory.

calculator plus aerial equals phone.
  [vote for,

Mobile 'phones tend to have rubbish calculators but if they didn't 'they'd still be unsuitable in certain circumstances. It would still be unfeasible to use them in classrooms, exam halls, cinemas, theatres and so forth.

In an earlier idea, linked below, i have proposed virtual 'phone accounts. l stand by that idea, so this will try to incorporate that. Here we go.

There are two devices, both free to use - no charge. One is a perfectly adequate calculator with the usual functions plus fairly fancy stuff like hyperbolic and trig functions. In one corner, it has a hole. The other device is a cylinder acting as an aerial, speaker and microphone, also freely available. When this is slipped into the hole, the device is usable immediately as a basic mobile 'phone, able to make emergency and toll-free calls and locatable. It also enables the user to log into any mobile phone account they might have, which as mentioned in the linked idea is now virtual. However it's now even more virtual, because the calculator is now revealed in fact to be a media player, able to display a remote interface representing the virtual device's. If the user has paid for a device with video playing facilities, it'll do that, but if they've only paid for basic voice calls and texting then not even the camera will work, just texting and calls.

This has the advantage to the service provider of actually giving away a perfectly capable but crippled device which the user knows is capable of really super-duper stuff but only if they pay for it, providing temptation, but at the same time the consumer could just pay for the facilities for when they really need them and do without the rest of the time, so there's an advantage to both. The actual ability to use them is "streamed" from the user's account, into and out of which they log.

Also, the calculator is quite swanky anyway. It'll do nice things like graph, be programmable and so on, and has a proper keypad.

So, it's a calculator which can be used as an emergency mobile with an accessory, both of which are free, which can be used simply as a calculator by removing the aerial- audio assembly, and which can be used as a device with any capabilities up to its full hardware specifications via a virtual account. The user can configure the full device according to their requirements, making it an audio player, video camera, still camera, digital radio, mini- tablet computer, calculator, all according to their account settings, and change it according to short- or long-term desires.

nineteenthly, Oct 31 2011

Mobile cellphone user profiles Mobile_2fCellphone_20user_20profiles
Virtual 'phone profiles - read both together if this doesn't make sense alone. [nineteenthly, Oct 31 2011]

App Store: Symbolic Calculator http://itunes.apple...or/id333252515?mt=8
I use the linked application fairly often, and I think it's really good! [zen_tom, Nov 01 2011]


       I quite like the charging model - though there are issues with making it economically viable - I don't think it's necessarily cheaper to release a phone with limited 'oomph' than it is to release a phone with lots of 'oomph' - If the price a consumer pays doesn't pay for the 'oomph' that's supplied, then you're selling loads of phones for less than they might otherwise earn.   

       On the general concept of pluginability and fancy calculators - you can indeed get mobile-phone calculators that do all the stuff you describe - I have found a particularly useful one for example that provides me the roots of any given quadratics, plots graphs from given formulae - and another calculator that provides symbolic functions, providing algebraic mappings between one set of surds and another, for example.   

       After deciding to configure my phone to use them, they were 'streamed' onto my phone, and I was charged accordingly - just like in the idea. I only paid for these functions after deciding that I would find them useful, and now I use them all the time. You might consider that my phone was 'crippled' or lacked this functionality prior to my purchasing those 'features' - but by the same line of thought, you might also think that your home PC is 'crippled' in terms of functionality prior to installing a certain piece of software - it's a different point of view, and if that's how you want to think about it, nobody's stopping you.   

       I suppose if I wanted to, I could call my mobile phone operator and ask them to alter the details of my contract in a way that limited the call usage available on my phone to emergencies etc only. Again, you're totally free to do that right now.   

       My point being that you've outlined a set of requirements, all of which are available now, to anyone who wanted to benefit from the particular combination of limitations and benefits you describe, using technology that exists right now. The only element that doesn't exist is the precise charging model (i.e. presumably really- really cheap) but there's always a combination of ebay and sensible consumer research to help achieve that. In the meantime, the same general model is available for slightly more than really really cheap - with the companies supplying those sets of requirements apparently remaining quite profitable at the current general price-levels.   

       In other words, how do we get what you're asking for, for cheaper than it's already available for?   

       Finally, the other major difference is this ability to cripple the device physically - this is also possible with existing technology - albeit via optional settings, rather than having to physically remove a chunk of the device - but I don't see what the difference is, in terms of what you want to achieve.
zen_tom, Oct 31 2011

       I suppose what i'm trying to say is, this is a calculator which is also a mobile, whereas other devices are really mobiles which are also calculators. I envisage this looking like a calculator with a larger screen which turns into a mobile when you stick in the aerial. The other bit is because that's how mobile 'phones work in nineteenthlia (or at least the pre- apocalyptic version of it).
nineteenthly, Oct 31 2011

       With the advantage that you could physically remove the antenna etc. and take the remaining calculator into exams, right?   

       I would almost be in the market for this; I'd prefer a well-designed calculator that can also handle calls and texts than a mobile phone with an annoying and fiddly calculator.   

       However, the bit about aspects of the hardware not working until certain subscription services are paid for is not so good. Handset manufacturers already do this; why the #$&! should I not be able to use a perfectly good camera without an authenticated SIM? Shenanigans, I say!
spidermother, Oct 31 2011

       And some old lady in Portugal starts wondering why all these people are calling her up to ask what the square root of 197456923 is.   

       It's a dumb idea, but + under general principles.
FlyingToaster, Oct 31 2011

       Some university subjects allow calculators; the only requirement is to remove and replace the batteries to erase any programming.
spidermother, Oct 31 2011

       // What kind of schools allow calculators to be used in exams? //   

       I feel your pain, [21 Q]. Sadly, until my daughter went to college i also assumed that this was still the case. However, the current situation, at least as far as her college is concerned, is that not only must you take calculators into maths classes, but you actually get excluded from the classes if you don't. This is of course the kind of thing which persuaded me not to send the children to school in the first place, but being over sixteen, she's now old enough to make her own decisions regarding her education.   

       But surely it is a fact universally acknowledged that a person in possession of a bog standard mobile must be in want of a decent calculator?   

       [Spidermother], that would make it a microcosm of the global economy. There are artificial barriers everywhere. It is, for example, entirely feasible for an entire hospital staff to work for nothing - their skills and experience would still be the same. Asking for wages constitutes an artificial barrier there but few people would criticise them for that.
nineteenthly, Nov 01 2011

       //I'd prefer a well-designed calculator that can also handle calls and texts//   

       A very small difference engine with a semaphore messaging option, via very small flags?   

       HD cameras on mobile phone masts to pick up the semaphore when there is line of sight, or the signals for accelerometers on the flags if not. I'm in condition tonight....
not_morrison_rm, Nov 01 2011


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