Texas Instruments is attempting a change, announcing they will release a new member of the TI-84 family in time for the 2013 back-to-school season. The TI-84+C will be the first TI-84 to have a color screen, hence the "C" after the "+." The project is still being developed, so TI has not released much of the specs. At its core may still sit a Z80 at around 15 MHz, resolution of the screen is still unknown. A vague "Spring 2013" release date, and a notification sign-up page is all that was given out.
Users will be able to graph directly to uploaded photographs, but unlike the Nspire, pics of common file types, like jpg or png, will need to be converted first. The new TI-84+C will use a similar operating system to the old models but will include new options for the color screen, and the button layout will be identical to the other TI-84s.
Before the release, Texas Instruments wants to rewrite the more popular TI-84 programs for compatibility with the new color screen. However, the TI-84+C will be released with App4Math, CellSheet, EasyData, Finance, Inequalz, Plysmlt2, and Smartpad, preloaded. New apps will continue to be released throughout the summer of 2013, including compatible versions of Areaform, CabriJr, Conics, Periodic, ProbSim, SciTools, and Transfrm. This new calculator will also come with an improved version of SmartView for teachers who incorporate calculators into their lessons. This SmartView will still be compatible with previous TI-84s.
The previous TI-84s, the "Plus (+)" and "+Silver Edition," will still be available with no updates planned; priced for the budget-minded. Good news for poor college students considering the new TI-84+C will have an MSRP of about $150.
Being similar to previous 84s, this calculator will most likely be allowed in standardized tests, but institutions have decided nothing yet. As a former engineering student, unless there are some useful apps developed to pump more life into this calculator, I cannot say I could see this version becoming exceedingly popular, just fresh paint on the standard. With that said, it is a good bet that TI graphing calculators will continue to be used in classrooms everywhere for a long time. It's even more heartening to know that the Z80 and 68K are still in demand.