Every once in a while, a company will tap its nostalgia base and recreate something of a bygone era. Sometimes its good, like the NuMuscle cars of Dodge, Chevy, and Ford. Sometimes its bad, like the reemergence of Fiat. And sometimes, its out of the blue, like the Commodore PET.
Commodore is one of those classic computer companies remembered for its untapped potential. “If only…” sigh the old men at the end of the bar, drinking through their rose colored glasses. Not to diminish the accomplishments of the Commodore, or its role in the PC wars. Commodore held its own against the likes of Coleco, Atari, and Apple. Though with the paradigm shift to Windows, all of these companies would fall.
Over the next decades the Commodore and Amiga names would be bought, reintroduced, and sold again. It seems as though there was too much reliance on a name and not enough on innovation. To be fair, the home PC arms race of the 90s was brutal. As far as I know, Cloanto , a software engineering company, holds whats left of the Commodore-Amiga name. So imagine my surprise when a company I thought was dead decided to launch a new smart phone.
It seems as though Commodore Business Machines LTD (no confirmation on parent company yet, and the basic company website leads me to extreme skepticism) is back in the UK and ready to release the Commodore PET. This new smart phone takes the name of Commodore’s original computer launched in 1977. The nostalgia hype is definitely strong with this one.
As this version of Commodore is located in London, its expected to be a Euro style phone, likely with SIM cards. As for an North American release, it is still unknown who will carry it. AT&T seems like the easy choice, given the companies openness to region free phones. Given the nature of this new Commodore, it seems just as likely to find this phone from Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, or any other of the smaller carrier lines. Riding the hype train into a heavily entrenched market requires that Commodore fill any niches it can find using service providers that desperately need a way to stand out. It’s mutually beneficial.
The Stats for the Commodore PET read pretty standard:
Network: 4G LTE, GSM, WCDMA, WIFI, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, FM radio
CPU: Octa-core 1.7 GHZ 64bit
Storage: 32GB (up to 64GB with optional MicroSD)
Memory: 3GB RAM
Screen: 5.5″ Full HD 1920×1080 IPS OGS Display
Camera: 8MP front, 13 MP rear (with flashlight)
I/0 & Connector: 3.5mm earphone Jack, Micro USB
Microphone: Front silicon microphone by SMT, rear microphone for denoise
Sensor: Direction, Acceleration, Proximity, Air gesture, Light sensor, Hail switch, Magnetic, Gyroscope
Sim card: DUAL SIM (Micro SiM cards)
Battery: 3000mAH (hand removable)
Operating System: Android 5.0 “Lollipop”
*note – I typed this directly from the box. Random capitals are all verbatim.
Wired seems to think the Commodore PET will launch in Europe in a matter of days, starting with Italy, France, Poland, and Germany. Notice the phone won’t be available for sale in its home territory.
As much as I am interested in the Commodore PET, we’ve seen this before. Investors who consistently relaunch and fail at the Commodore brand only tarnish the original companies history as a power house of home computing. I want the Commodore PET to be a reality. I want it to fulfill its promises. But it won’t. Questionable rights ownership, a teaser company website with zero information, and no real pictures of the PET with a launch date of “by the end of the week” are tell tale signs of a promise not kept.
The photo of a original Commodore PET computer is not a 1977 PET (model PET 2001), the original PET had a built in cassette recorder in the keyboard and a smaller 9″ screen. The PET on the picture is probably a PET in the 4000 series, about 1980.
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