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HP's new Prime graphing calculator fights smartphone envy with a touchscreen and apps

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Back when many of us were in high school, Texas Instrument's TI-83 graphing calculator reigned supreme. But today, smartphones can easily replicate the functions of an advanced graphing calculator with low-cost apps, and do dozens of other things to boot. For those that have decided to hang on to a standalone calculator, or whose curriculum requires it, HP has a new model coming out this fall that should stem some of that smartphone envy. The Prime, shown off in a very Apple-esque promotional video posted to YouTube, features a 3.5-inch, full color multitouch display and the ability to run a host of different apps.

Despite its large touchscreen, the Prime still retains all of the hardware buttons you would expect on an advanced graphing calculator. What it doesn't have is the ability to make phone calls, send emails, or presumably, play Angry Birds. The design of the device is reminiscent of the Porsche P'9981 BlackBerry, but its brushed metal and angled keys scream vintage scientific or financial calculator to us.

There's no pricing available yet, but Gizmodo reports that the HP Prime should be hitting shelves just in time for the fall school semester. The next question is, how long will it take before you can play Tetris in full color on this thing?