Casio S100 Flagship Pocket Calculator Celebrates 50 Years Of Calculated Progress

Casio Computer Co.'s first memory-function electronic calculator weighed 37 pounds and cost the equivalent of $1,000 each. Fifty years later, cheap pocket calculators sell for under a buck... and then there's the Casio S100, a “flagship” product priced at $220 and aimed at the high-end, luxury calculator market. In related news, Casio thinks there's a market for high-end, luxury pocket calculators. 

So, who in their right mind would pay two Benjamins & change for an iPhone 6s Plus-sized gadget with one lousy function and NO internet connectivity? Wealthy hipsters, perhaps, but you can count those on the fingers on one hand.

Casio's chief product planner Ohira Akiraki (above) believes, however, that the same mindset that supports the luxury fountain pen industry will find the new S100 appealing.

Snarkery aside, the S100 has a number of worthy attributes which, as opposed to an abundance of features, seek to justify its stratospheric price. We'll begin with the calculator's case, diamond-cut from aluminum alloy clusters for strength and durability. The keys employ “V-gearing” to provide stability while the alphanumeric digits are molded into the tops of each key, ensuring optimum legibility over the long term.

The S100's high-contrast FSTN LCD display features an anti-reflective coating on either side (an industry first, according to Casio), designed to provide ideal visibility indoors or out.

The calculator is powered by a CR2025 lithium battery rated for 7 years and, since this is an heirloom item, the battery can be replaced when it eventually does run down. A built-in solar cell takes up the slack.

Considering its steep sticker price and limited usefulness in today's tech-savvy environment, one would at least expect Casio to extol the S100's exclusivity as a way to energize purchases. Not so: the company plans to manufacture 5,000 of the S100 calculators annually with sales beginning on September 30th, 2015.

In the meantime, members of the Millennial Generation unfamiliar with so-called “pocket calculators” and older “off my lawn!” types are invited to enjoy the circa-1980 song stylings of Elton Motello as he musically celebrates this once must-have tech product. (images and info via Casio Computer Co. and IT Media)