Silicon Valley Startup Aims to Replace Texas Instruments' Iconic Calculator

Silicon Valley startup Desmos Inc. is going after one of the oldest names in technology, Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc., in an area not normally associated with cutting-edge innovation: handheld calculators.Founded in 2011, Desmos has developed a free graphing calculator program that runs on smartphones and computers, eliminating the need for a separate device. The downloadable app has won users and the endorsement of the same testing organizations and textbook publishers that approved Texas Instruments products for tests such as the SAT college entrance exam.Just this week, a group called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium gave Desmos its blessing. The organization oversees some standardized testing for middle- and high-school students in 15 states, including California, Connecticut and Michigan."We think students shouldn't have to purchase this old technology that predates the internet," said Eli Luberoff, the company founder. "This market is shifting. A monopoly is crumbling."Calculators such as the TI-84 are a staple for most college-bound students in the U.S. They retail for about $100, with fancier models going for more than twice that. According to Desmos, they're made with old, underpowered technology that's no match for the capabilities of even a mid-range smartphone or low-end laptop.  Continue reading...

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