The HP-41C series of calculators were the first to add alphanumeric input to simplify and expand the programming of HP's increasingly sophisticated programmable calculators.
The alpha characters were printed on the slanted faces of the keys. If the user needed a function not printed on a key (about half of the HP-41Cs functions were preassigned to keys), the name of the function could be typed in and executed. The keyboard had an "Alpha" key that toggled the keyboard between alpha and the normal calculator mode.
The HP-41C was first introduced in 1979, with the HP-41CV and HP-41CX released as later models in the series. The HP-41CX was released in 1983 and discontinued in 1990.
The CX variant included by default the Time module (stopwatch plus clock with alarms), an Extended Functions / Extended Memory module, a text editor, and some additional functions.
In a review of the HP-41C in the January 1980 edition of Practical Computing, the reviewer asked the question of whether the release of this programmable calculator was a glimpse into the future for portable, pocket computers due to its size and capabilities. While he came to the conclusion that the calculator still had a way to go as a computer, it was definitely a "significant step forward toward the pocket computer".
Other Systems Related To Hewlett-Packard HP-41CX:
This exhibit has a reference ID of CH35671. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.