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Commodore Makes Appearance with New Goods

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

Talk about a blast from the past: home "computer" manufacturer Commodore is returning to the scene, bringing a few new goodies to the table at CES '09.

The question one has to initially ask is this: how many Commodore 64 "laptop" computers are currently living in landfills? More than most people probably want to imagine, yet in the early 1980's, the Commodore 64 was THE home computer to own. Who cared if it took thirty minutes to load a modem program via cassette tape? So what if it's huge $595 pricetag offered 8-bit computing and 64k of memory. It still ruled the world, and gave Radio Shack's TSR model a run for its money.

Now Commodore is back, although the company currently is not resurrecting its infamous "C" series of personal computers. This time around, Commodore is entering the netbook market with its "F" and "J" series. Both devices have 10.1-inch screens, however the "F" series features a more sporty look and a keyboard sized around 85 percent of a standard full keyboard. The "J" series lends more to mobile business users, designed with a superfast E-Sata USB port and a larger keyboard. Via C7 / C8 or Intel Atom processors power both netbook models.

According to the company, the netbooks come packed with 1 and 2 GB internal memory, a 160 GB hard disk, built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, three USB ports, and Windows XP already installed (!). There's also an optional external slim line optical drive and a HDD back-up device. Both models offer a direct connection to the CommodoreWorld portal, providing various content such as digital entertainment, TV shows, and actual news channels, all accessed by a special hotkey on the netbook.

Commodore also announced its "M" series of mini-netbooks, designed especially for the worldwide One PC per Child Initiative. The "M" series comes in two models, both sporting a 7-inch screen and various "shell" colors. The company stated that it built the M-450R to run with Windows XP or CE on a RDC 800Mhz CPU with 512MB DDR, equipped with 4GB SSD (Solid State Drive) storage, WiFi, Web Cam, standard 80 keys keyboard and touchpad. The M-400 runs on Linux using Intel's Xscale 366 Mhz CPU, 128MB memory with IGB SSD, and comes equipped with WiFi, standard 80 Key-Keyboard and touchpad.

“We’re ecstatic launch our new line of Commodore netbooks and other products in USA," said President and CEO of Commodore USA Ben van Wijhe. "We are very eager to introduce to the market the new products and services exclusively developed for Commodore. The initial response from the market is very positive and retailers are willing to buy the new line of Commodore netbooks which continue the tradition of the famous Commodore C64.”

Commodore is currently displaying all netbooks at CES, however the company is also showcasing a few other products as well, including mobile internet devices and its new line of GPS devices.

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  • 0 Hide
    shovel , January 10, 2009 4:54 AM
    Ah the old 64...

    Got rid of my Atari VCS & bought this real computer in 1984...
    Learned how to program in basic, I remember buying PC magazines & typing in pages of text as this was how programs were distributed - you'd spend days typing it in, then days debugging your typo's (or the printing was so crap you couldn't tell an I from a 1). Moved on to Forth, C & then assembler, thus I became a GEEK!

    You'd get home from work, turn the telly to the C64, start the tape drive to load a game, cook & eat dinner, have a shower, then sit down for hours of 8bit gaming goodness...


  • -1 Hide
    enewmen , January 10, 2009 5:29 AM
    The Commodore Amiga was WAY ahead of other PCs at the time. I wonder if it will be possible to create such a futureistic PC now with grapics 10 years ahead via onboard chipset. Also a brand-new build from scratch OS & Kernel. The Amiga can do Ray-Tracing back in late 1985 using Sculpt 3D/Turbo Silver in HAM mode (12 bit color).

    Instead of the C64, I was just able to get a Vic-20 for $100 - much cheaper than an Apple ][ at the time. I would stay up all night developing my version of Text Invaders, Lode Runner, and Bolo- in 4 bit color!

    To me it looks like the "M" series has more of the old sprit by it not being a PC clone like everyone else has.
  • 0 Hide
    HJB , January 10, 2009 10:16 AM
    "... Radio Shack's TSR..."? Would that be the TRS, as in Trash-80, sold as the TRS-80?
  • Display all 14 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 10, 2009 3:17 PM
    Now if someone could just resurrect the AMIGA name - apparently Amiga, INC. surely can't.
  • 0 Hide
    Pomel , January 10, 2009 4:05 PM
    I too have fond memories of the C64. I am a programmer now because of my experience with the Sinclair ZX81, C64 and TRS-80. However, I don't think the folks using the name now have any connection to the ones who brought us the C64. Another company aquired the rights to the Commodore name. See the link to a story below. A bit cheesy me thinks.
    http://news.cnet.com/Is-Commodore-poised-for-a-comeback/2100-1041_3-5998732.html
  • 0 Hide
    kamkal , January 10, 2009 7:41 PM
    remember wheel of fortune on commodore 64??

    :tear: good times
  • 1 Hide
    theubersmurf , January 11, 2009 2:39 AM
    They've been making gaming computers for a while now, a year or more. It's not the same, since they're all windows platforms...
  • -1 Hide
    JonnyDough , January 11, 2009 7:37 AM
    Can you guys please refrain from delving into the past? The old Commodore company has little to do with the company today.

    I doubt there are many from that era still working there still. This is about an old company and a new product. Try to focus on the present and what the company is doing today. We all know about the Commodore 64 and we really don't need a trip down your memory lane.

    The only thing that Commodore has likely brought along from that ancient bit of history is the company name and a bit of experience.

    Nobody brings up the history of Levi Strauss every time an advertisement about Levi jeans comes on the tele, nor do you break into a song and dance about Sears Roebuck when you hear about a department store.

    This is a present day company doing present day things. That's what this brief is about. Can we focus on what they're doing and not what they did? I don't much care about the Intel of 10 yrs ago (it makes an interesting article but if I had to read about the Pentium 1 every time something about the i7 benchmarks were mentioned I'd find a new site to read). I want to know what they are doing TODAY. If I want a company history I'll go do some real research.

    Thanks,

    ~Someone who doesn't care so much about the 1972 Chevy you owned in H.S. and has more interest in Chevy's current bailout/new vehicle lineups.
  • 0 Hide
    RichR , January 11, 2009 2:52 PM
    The news is about a company that was very popular in the 80s and has not been active for more than 20 years. Your complaint and examples do not make sense. Maybe you need to cut down on your caffeine or whatever is making you so worked up for nothing.
  • 1 Hide
    JonnyDough , January 11, 2009 9:48 PM
    Rich, if they weren't active they wouldn't exist. Businesses either compete, or they die. They don't just linger around for 20 years. Maybe you should get off your mom's couch and actually get out into the world a bit, maybe take some business classes. My examples made perfect sense, maybe you just have comprehension issues.
  • 1 Hide
    TyRaX , January 12, 2009 1:47 AM
    READY.
    LOAD"TAKEACHILLPILL",8,1

    SEARCHING FOR "TAKEACHILLPILL"
    LOADING
    READY.
    RUN
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 12, 2009 11:35 PM
    I would buy one if its under 350$ just because of the retro thing... I loved my Commodore and Im sure people will do double takes when they see this.

    I do hate this BS song and dance that the companies have to go through to get Linux on a machine and the limits they put on their storage, RAM and so on when they do.

    I want a Linux based netbook just like my wife's Acer One and my Dell 9 and I DONT WANT a 7 inch one.
    I will NOT buy a 7inch model just to get Linux.
    I will just go to another company to get a 9 or 10.

    Too bad. I would have spent money on this just beacuse of nostalgia even though there is no guarantee of its quality and it didnt make sense.

    Give me choice or bug off!


    Lyle
  • 0 Hide
    falvesjr , January 14, 2009 8:31 PM
    If they wanted to sell more of these modern Commodore computers than they dare dream, they just need to incorporate a hardware version of the C64, complete with a SID chip, into every unit. With a toggle, you could be in a full blown C64, complete with all the special graphics symbols printed right on the keyboard. It would be a bonus to have a cartridge slot, but to minimize external space requirements, the cartridge slot and 1541 disk drives could be emulated and just read and write to/from the hard drive.

    This shouldn't be too hard as the C64 has already been made into a joystick game platform...

    I would buy one!

    -F
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , February 24, 2009 7:56 AM
    Every Commodore netbook should include a C=64 emulator and some games... other wise, who cares?

    I still have my C= and Amiga computers (operational) and in the end, many of us have learned to hate chicken-lips because of the totally retarded way the company ran itself into the ground.

    They were the opposite of Microsoft... good tech, lousy management and bad timing.

    The new commodore? Its just a name and a logo, it has NOTHING to do with the past. Just like the "new" Amiga has nothing to do with Amiga Computers.