Casio S100 Calculator

WIRED: The Parable of the Tablet and the Calculator:

That functionality alone still doesn’t justify the price tag.

[…] Scarcity is one factor. Casio says it will produce just 5,000 this year. Nostalgia is another; the S100 marks the 50th anniversary of the very first electronic desktop calculator. More important than either of those facts alone, though, is the S100’s combination of style, history, best-in-class (albeit an atypically disposable class) appeal. It’s not something you use, it’s something you display.

A $50 tablet that’s probably pretty good. A $220 calculator that can’t do much. In a certain light–and perhaps in any light—both seem slightly insane.

It’s crazy indeed. A tablet that comes with a built-in calculator app, connects to the internet and do so much more that cost a fraction of this calculator. But S100 is the Rolls-Royce of calculator, designed more to be admired, to tell a story and to solidify its brand status. In the desks and homes of the right people, it’s huge and influential. It’s the kind of product that will make people say “aww…it’s brilliant. Look at the details, the craftmanship and the thoughts that went behind building this.”

It will never have the mass appeal of Apple products. But exclusivity is what matters most to collectors and people who appreciate fine things.

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