The Commodore computer returns

A new company resurrects the legendary Commodore name to sell a new line of computers.

By Kim Peterson Mar 22, 2010 2:19PM
Commodore 64 microcomputer, circa 1985 (© Science and Society/SuperStock)The Commodore computer, one of the most beloved brands in technology history, is coming back. What's next, a remake of "Dynasty" and a return to leg warmers?

A new company, Commodore USA, has licensed the Commodore name and plans to start selling the made-over computer in June, according to PCWorld. But you don't have to dig very far before this starts sounding a little odd.

The new model, called Phoenix by Commodore USA, is an all-in-one system that can support up to 4 gigabytes of memory and 2 terabytes of storage, according to ZDNet. It reportedly comes with the Ubuntu Linux operating system, though you can get Windows 7 on it as well.

The Commodore 64 (pictured) was a monster hit, selling 17 million units between 1982 and 1994, according to PCWorld. Commodore USA is clearly trying to capitalize on the fond memories of former Commodore 64 users, saying on its Web site: "We were in love then . . . let's fall in love again."

I'm willing to bet that that's not going to happen. Too many things seem wrong about this new Commodore. To start with, the Web site looks like it was made by a high school computer class.

And as one astute ZDNet commenter pointed out, look at the similarities between the new Commodore and this "zero-footprint" computer sold by Cybernet. And compare the additional photos here and here. They are exactly the same.

So is Commodore USA planning to stick the Commodore name on an existing Cybernet computer? The company is pretty quiet about it, although CEO Barry Altman describes the upcoming advertising campaign as "something like you've never seen in your life."

No word on price yet. But I think I'd rather put my money toward an Apple (AAPL) iPad. Now that's an all-in-one system.
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