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Startup Targets The TI Calculators Your Kid Lugs to Class

Desmos says online graphing calculator better for today's students
Texas Instruments calculator

Texas Instruments calculator

Silicon Valley startup Desmos Inc. is going after one of the oldest names in technology, Texas Instruments Inc., in an area not normally associated with cutting-edge innovation: handheld calculators.

Founded in 2011, Desmos has developed a free graphing calculator program that runs on smartphones and computers, eliminating the need for a separate device. The downloadable app has won users and the endorsement of the same testing organizations and textbook publishers that approved Texas Instruments products for tests such as the SAT college entrance exam. Just this week, a group called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium gave Desmos its blessing. The organization oversees some standardized testing for middle- and high-school students in 15 states, including California, Connecticut and Michigan.

"We think students shouldn't have to purchase this old technology that predates the internet," said Eli Luberoff, the company founder. "This market is shifting. A monopoly is crumbling."