Commodore USA shows new models

Commodore USA, founded by Barry Altman in April of 2010 announced last year a new all-in-one (AIO) computer called the Phoenix.  When they announced it, it featured the Commodore logo and the classic rainbow stripes, but that basically was all that reflected the classic C64.
Furthermore, due to some licensing issues they could not use the logo and brand name, so it just stayed, the “Phoenix”.  You could put together your own Phoenix on the Commodore USA store but I have no knowledge of any review of the system and whether it sold or not.

Towards the end of 2010, Commodore USA then announced their 21st century Commodore 64.  It uses a modern mini-ITX PC motherboard featuring a Dual Core 525 Atom processor and the latest Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset all housed in the traditional breadbox casing.
It definitely resembles the old classic C64 on the outside (much more than the Phoenix) and it comes with its own C64 emulator that you can start within seconds of turning the Commodore 64 on, by either selecting the C64 icon from the boot menu to run it directly, or from a media center program within the Commodore USA’s Operating System, Workbench 5.
Prices and when it will be available are still unknown, as the store section on the Commodore USA site still mentions “coming soon”.

What I did find out though, was the following quote (from October 2010) that was featured next to the video you can see on this page as well on the designs of the new Commodore 64:
“We will soon be printing the design to plastic to ensure all the components fit.  After that we will producing the molds for an initial run of 50-100 units.  These initial units will be numbered and available as collector’s items.  Some of these initial units will be used for promotional purposes of course.”

Whether or not it is a good thing, this “re-release” of the C64 is a hot discussion topic on the web.  Many feel that it has nothing to do with the old classic and that it is merely a commercial undertaking, tapping into the sentiment of many people that have grown up with the classic Commodore.  I take their point that apart from the “look”, it bares basically no resemblance to the machine that shaped computing in the 80s.  The fact that they decided to include an emulator that you can immediately boot into is a good thing, but like many “old school” computer fans, nothing beats playing games or running classic applications on the old models themselves.
It will remain a discussion topic for many months to come, of that I’m sure!

Next to this, Commodore USA announced the acquisition of the worldwide licensing rights to the brand-name AMIGA, back in August of last year so we could expect something along the lines of “new” Amiga’s as well.
As it turns out, their website now features a series of concept images of some of the models they are considering for production in 2011, such as the Commodore 16x, the 128x, the “Amiga Fantasy” and many more.

I guess it will depend on the success of the eventual sales of the new C64 whether these concept images will make it into prototypes and eventually working models.

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4 Responses to Commodore USA shows new models

  1. Would be awsome if Commodore would also release real C64’s especially with real SIDS :-) I wonder how many people would by them, the retro scene is quite active worldwide!

  2. Robby "The C= guy"

    It is indeed… some new hardware combined with SIDs so you can start playing some chiptunes directyl… sounds nice =)

  3. I’m so disappointed in the re-release of this classic. Like we’ve discussed on Twitter Robby…It’s better to just pick up a working original C64 on eBay for around $50 usd.

    This article was out way before any of the so called big sites put any information out.

    Great Job my friend, talk to you soon.

  4. While i agree with Jorge on his point, i think i might pick this up, depending on how it would run in Australia (power issues, etc). The girlfriend needs a new PC anyway (and it will stop her from hijacking my MackBook Pro).

    I just wonder how well the C64 games will play. Will they be properly emulated, or will they botch the job, as many of the retro games on last gen consoles? The game speed was much faster rendering many retro games unplayable: eg; Wizard of Wor on XBOX/PSP, etc. This will be the ‘make-or-break’ point for me!

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