Texas Instruments TI-89

Date of introduction:  March 13, 1998
 Available: May 1998
Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
New price:  $159.99  Display size:  100 * 160 pixels
Size:  7.2" x 3.2" x 0.80"
 182 x 81 x 20 mm3
Weight:  6.4 ounces, 182 grams Serial No:  12030671
Batteries:  4*AAA + CR1620 (35mA) Date of manufacture:  mth 04 year 1999 (B)
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  Taiwan (I)
Precision:  14 Integrated circuits:  CPU: SC414181
 ASIC: TI REF 200C040
 Flash: LH28F160
 RAM: 2*SRM20V100
Program steps:  188k Bytes, 702k Bytes Flash ROM Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

The TI-89 introduced in March 1998 could be called the most enhanced calculator of the pre-2000 time. 

TI-89_DISP.jpg (34337 Byte)It combines the capabilities of the TI-92 Symbolic calculator with state-of-the-art Flash technology in a normal sized hand-held calculator case. The only drawback compared with the original TI-92 is the reduced screen size and the calculator style keyboard instead the former typewriter style. 

TI-89_PCB1.jpg (209403 Byte)How managed engineers of Texas Instruments to squeeze a fully loaded 32-bit microcomputer system into a small calculator housing? They designed together with Motorola a so-called Application Specific Microcomputer. The kernel of the design is the original Motorola MC68000 microprocessor and all necessary logic for a calculator is placed on the same chip.

Dismantling the featured TI-89 Graphing calculator manufactured in April 1999 by Inventec Corporation in Taiwan reveals a very impressive design centered around the Motorola Application Specific Microcomputer labeled SC414181, two Epson SRM20V100 Static RAM chips with a capacity of 128k Bytes, each and a huge Sharp LH28F160 1Mx16 bits Flash ROM. 

The 5 display drivers found in the TI-92 were replaced by only two chip-on-board (COB) components manufactured by Sharp.

TI-89_PCB2.jpg (216110 Byte)
The customized SC414181 32-bit microcomputer was replaced with TI-89 calculators manufactured starting May 1999 by a standard MC68SEC000 CPU with an additional ASIC for the glue logic. Learn more about the Hardware Architecture of TI’s Graphing Calculators.

The clock and the icon desktop were new features included in the OS 2.07 and upwards. You can easily update an elder TI-89 to OS 2.08 or OS 2.09 so that it will include the clock as well. However the clock will not activate with a TI-89 Hardware Version 1.00, it has to be Hardware Version 2.00.

A special "teacher version" called TI-89 VSC combines the standard TI-89 features with a port to connect to a ViewScreen panel via a cable. Placing the panel on the overhead projector enlarges the image of the handheld screen so that each student can follow along.

A serial port of the calculators allows the connection to the Calculator-Based Laboratory system CBL, its successor CBL 2, the Calculator-Based Ranger CBR and its successor CBR 2. Texas Instruments announced June 2002 an optional full-sized QWERTY Keyboard for a more convenient entry of notes into the handhelds.

Don't miss the colorful slide cases developed for the TI-83 Plus, they fit on the TI-89, too.

Texas Instruments introduced in May 2003 a styling variation of the TI-89 for the European market. Only some month later, the successor TI-89 Titanium was announced for the global market. Main differences are:

More stylish housing with integrated kickstand
Integrated USB port for computer connecitivity
Three times of user memory
Advanced display
16 pre-loaded software applications


The two different hardware revisions of the TI-89 are known as HW1 and HW2. You can check the HW version of your TI-89 using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:  

[F1] [A]

Please notice that HW1 revisions report just the ROM version while HW2 reports the hardware revision, too. Main differences between HW1 and HW2 are the display access (Direct Memory Access vs. Memory Mapped IO), processor speed (10 MHz vs. 12 MHz) and limitations of the assembly program size).


1.00 (July 27, 1998)
1.05 (June 2, 1999)
2.03 (December 8, 1999)
2.04 (March 11, 2000)
2.05 (July 5, 2000)
2.06 (not released)
2.07 (not released)
2.08 (July 29, 2002, recalled and re-released February 20, 2003)
2.09 (March 27, 2003, actual in February 2008)

Advanced Mathematics Software v2.09 

You can check the ROM version of your TI-89 using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:

[F1] [A]

Information provided by and Xavier Andréani.

Exam acceptance:

Since the TI-89 lacks a QWERTY keyboard it is permitted (as of September 27, 2007) for use on SAT, PSAT and AP exams. Calculators with computer algebra system (CAS) functionality are not allowed on ACT exams.


Find here the original press release dated March 13, 1998:

New upgradable graphing calculator for college students integrates Computer Algebra System (CAS)

Handheld unit provides functionality traditionally found on desktop computers

DALLAS, March 13, 1998

Texas Instruments today announced the TI-89, a powerful new graphing calculator with a Computer Algebra System (CAS) developed for students taking advanced math and engineering courses. The TI-89 offers students expanded capabilities and increased memory to meet the demands of these classes, as well as the ability to upgrade the unit's functionality electronically through Flash technology.

"College students need a graphing calculator that offers power and versatility," said Tom Ferrio, vice president, Texas Instruments, "CAS is an important tool for this group, but it was usually found on computers, which often have limited portability and accessibility. So we worked with educators to design a calculator that incorporated CAS to give students this functionality at their fingertips. Then we enhanced the calculator with more memory and made it electronically upgradable through Flash technology so students had an easier and less expensive way to have the latest software version."

Broad Software Functionality

The TI-89's library of software functionality includes advanced features that help students visualize and understand complex mathematical equations and concepts. In addition to its use in college-level coursework such as linear algebra, differential equations and electrical engineering, the TI-89 can be used in advanced high school mathematics and science courses such as calculus and physics.

"I can't believe how much this calculator can do," said Heidi Pomerantz, a sophomore at Rice University , Houston , Texas . "And I like the wide range of features, especially the CAS system, because there are lots of different courses I can use it in."


Unlike traditional graphing calculators, the TI-89 is electronically upgradable through Flash technology. This advanced capability provides students with a lower-cost way to obtain the latest graphing calculator functionality without purchasing a whole new unit, and allows the calculator to grow and meet their ongoing needs. Students can simply download maintenance updates and the latest software version from the TI website to their computer, then transfer the software to their TI-89 via TI-GRAPH LINK™ (sold separately).

Expanded Memory

The TI-89 includes a total of 572K bytes of memory. Of this total, there are 188K bytes of RAM that students can use to compute and store functions, programs and data. The remaining 384K bytes are user data archive that can be used to store more programs and data, depending on the user's needs.

Also, the TI-89 incorporates a new screen technology for an easier-to-read display. The calculator's screen has more pixels than any other vertical TI calculator, which results in more robust and detailed graphics. And an enhanced drop-down menu interface, similar to those seen in popular PC software programs, allows students to work in a familiar, intuitive environment.

The TI-89 will be available in North America and Europe in the second half of 1998. In the U.S. it will be available at office and electronics superstores, college bookstores and mass merchandisers for an estimated street price of $150.

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© Joerg Woerner, July 27, 2020. No reprints without written permission.