UPDATE (5/7/2015): Texas Instruments has released the new version of their TI-84 Plus CE operating system, version 5.0.1.0012. It can be downloaded from education.ti.com. You’ll also need the new version of TI-Connect. If you run into any problems on the upgrade, TI customer support can help you out at 1-800-TI-CARES.
Tomorrow, you’ll be able to read my review of the new TI-84 Plus CE. Prior to that, I wanted to share some of the latest information I’ve received about that model from Dale Philbrick, Director of Professional Development, Content and Systemic Programs for Texas Instruments.
One of the selling points for the new TI-84 Plus CE is that it has improved battery life over previous TI models when not used for an extended period of time. Texas Instruments was able to accomplish this with the creation of a “deep sleep” mode. Apparently, Texas Instruments has discovered that a small percentage of TI-84 Plus CE’s are not waking up properly from their slumber.
In order to remedy this, TI is going to issue an upgrade for the operating system that will fix the problem. The new operating system does not change any other functionality of the TI-84 Plus CE, or add new features. My review model, which has the affected operating system but has not experienced any problems, is running TI-84 Plus CE OS 5.0.0.0089. Philbrick says that Texas Instruments will not number the new version of the operating system until they are done fully testing it. Here is the official statement from TI:
“Texas Instruments is developing an update to the operating system (OS) of the TI-84 Plus CE to fix a software issue. In some instances, when the TI-84 Plus CE is turned off, and not turned on or recharged for several days, there is a very slight chance that it will not function properly. Updating to the latest OS will resolve the issue.
We are updating all products currently in production with the new OS and will proactively inform customers who already own the TI-84 Plus CE on how to upgrade. The new OS will be available for download in May. This will not affect availability of the new TI-84 Plus CE during the back-to-school buying season.
Customers with questions should contact 1-800-TI-CARES.”
Philbrick also informed me the vast majority of TI-84 Plus CE’s that go to retail will already have the new operating system. The handful that don’t will be marked with a sticker letting consumers know that they should upgrade their operating system.
If you are planning to buy a TI-84 Plus CE, I wouldn’t see this as any reason to hold you up. I would see it as a reminder that it is always a good idea to keep your calculator operating system up to date. The engineers that develop these handhelds are always working hard to eliminate bugs and add new features. It may not feel as glamorous as updating to the latest version of iOS or Android, but it is just as important if you want to take full advantage of what your calculator can do. I’d recommend checking at the beginning of each school year to see if you have the latest OS (or simply follow Tech Powered Math on Twitter or Facebook to find out when there is an update).