[citation][nom]ananthu123[/nom]one could buy a smartphone with an 800 mhz ARM at that price and use wolframalpha to do the calculation (atleast the pretty basic ones, including graphs).[/citation]
Exactly... While using add-on software or web services to handle these sort of thins on a phone is an inelegant solution compared to a dedicated device, cost-wise it makes a lot more sense. The main reason calculators still sell, then, is simply because they're required... And tests tend to ban the other things.
[citation][nom]demonhorde665[/nom]actually calculators in general are bad for society they are causing deminshed mental capacity of even our smartest people. My step dad went to college for a masters in electrical engineering , and he did not ever once use a calculator for his work.[/citation]
Your step dad certainly used a calculator. Just not an electronic digital one. Ever hear of a slide rule? How to use them is, in fact, one thing they taught in engineering school back then.
It's a false accusation that computers are causing people to dumb down. Rather, it's enabling people to accomplish things that had previously been entirely out of their league. Handling and computing mathematical matrices is something that was too cumbersome to be practical a few decades ago, in spite of their growing degree of criticality in the realm of physics... Now with computers we handle it without nary a thought. Similarly, thanks to computers, the level of precision in calculations (in terms of significant digits) has also gone up dramatically; those doing it by pencil-and-paper typically stop at 5 digits... Now, single-precision math does it at 7, and double-precision (which is used for all actual scientific and engineering applications) yields nearly 16 digits of precision.
As Bobser said, for some of us, we CAN handle menial math just fine; we just want to focus on the big, important things without sweating the small stuff. We'll handle the entire equation, while letting a computer handling the tiny addition and multiplication stuff.