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July 14, 2015

Commodore is back, this time as a smartphone company

by John_A

commodore-return

If you grew up (or were already an adult) in the 80s or 90s, odds are you have at least heard of Commodore. In fact, there’s even a pretty good chance you owned or knew someone who owned one of their computers, very likely a Commodore 64.

The C64 was one of the best-selling computers of all time, and was also one of the best gaming devices of the era. Over time however, the brand fell out of favor and eventually died.

While it was resurrected briefly in 2013 for a new nostalgia-driven Intel Atom machine named the C64x, the device sold poorly and the resurrected “Commodore USA” collapsed shortly thereafter. Now the brand is back once more, this time jumping into the smartphone game.

The original Commodore PET

Old Computers The original Commodore PET

Dubbed the Commodore PET, after Commodore’s first computer (also named PET), the new phone offers a 1.7GHz Mediatek 64-bit octa-core processor and a 5.5-inch 1080p display. Depending on if you get the 16GB or 32GB storage option, you’ll end up with 2 or 3GB of RAM. Other specs include a microSD slot, a 3000 mAh battery, a 13MP main cam, and an 8MP front cam.

As you’ve probably already figured out, just because the PET has Commodore’s name and logo on it — doesn’t make it the Commodore of old. The new Commodore is actually officially registered as “Commodore Business Machines Limited” in the UK, founded by Massimo Canigiani and Carlo Scattolini. Just like “Commodore US” in 2013, the new brand shares nothing in common with the original Commodore, save for the branding.

The PET doesn’t look like a horrible device by any means, but nor is it exactly an amazing device. Will nostalgia be enough to sell it? Only time will tell for sure, though we’ll find out soon enough when the device launches across select parts of Europe later this month at $300 for the 16GB model or $365 for the 32GB version. Commodore also says it plans to eventually offer the phone in more markets, including the US.

What do you think, excited by the idea of a Commodore branded phone? Or is this nothing more than a nostalgia driven gimmick that isn’t worth picking up?

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