An electronic calculator
is a small, portable electronic device used to perform operations ranging from basic arithmetic to complex mathematics.
The first solid state
electronic calculator was created in the 1960s, building on the extensive history of tools such as the abacus (developed around 2000 BC), and the mechanical
calculator (developed in the 17th century AD). It was developed in parallel
with the analog
computers of the day.
sized devices became available in the 1970s, especially after the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, developed by Intel for the Japanese calculator company Busicom. They later became used commonly within the petroleum industry (oil and gas).
Modern electronic calculators vary: from cheap
, give-away, credit-card-sized models to sturdy desktop models with built-in printers. They became popular in the mid-1970s (as integrated circuits made their size and cost small). By the end of that decade, calculator prices had reduced to a point where a basic calculator was affordable to most and they became common in schools.
Computer operating systems as far back as early Unix have included interactive calculator programs such as dc and hoc
, and calculator functions are included in almost all personal digital assistant
(PDA) type devices (save a few dedicated
address book and dictionary devices).
In addition to general purpose calculators, there are those designed for specific markets. For example, there are scientific calculators which include trigonometric and statistical calculations. Some calculators even have the ability to do computer algebra. Graphing calculators can be used to graph
functions defined on the real line, or higher-dimensional Euclidean space. As of 2016, basic calculators cost little, but the scientific and graphing models tend to cost more.
In 1986, calculators still represented an estimated 41% of the world's general-purpose hardware
capacity to compute information. By 2007, this diminished to less than 0.05%.