There are many kinds of a calculator, and the commonly used, especially by students, is an electronic calculator. It is a small, portable electronic device used to perform calculations, ranging from basic arithmetic to complex mathematics.

The first electronic calculator was created in the 1960s, evolving from the various tools such as the abacus, and the mechanical calculator. It was developed in parallel with the analog computers of the day. During the 1970s, the pocket sized devices became available, after the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, developed by Intel for the Japanese calculator company Busicom. This was the first calculator to use an LED display, the first hand-held calculator to use a single integrated circuit, and the first electronic calculator to run off replaceable batteries—AA size cells.

In the mid-1970s, modern electronic calculators became popular; they vary from cheap, giveaway, credit-card-sized models to study desktop models with built-in printers. By the end of that decade, calculator prices had reduced to a point where a basic calculator was affordable to most and they became common in schools. The cost of the cheapest four-function pocket calculator had dropped to a few dollars, about 1/20th of the cost five years before, and the result was that the pocket calculator was affordable and that it was now difficult for the manufacturers to make a profit from calculators, leading to many firms dropping out of the business or closing down. The firms that survived making calculators tended to be those with high outputs of higher quality calculators or producing high-specification scientific and programmable calculators.

Aside from the general purpose calculators, there are those designed for specific markets, such as scientific calculators which include trigonometric and statistical calculations. Some calculators even have the ability to do computer algebra. Graphing calculators can be used to graph functions defined on the real line or higher-dimensional Euclidean space. As of 2016, basic calculators cost a little, but the scientific and graphing models tend to cost more.

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