Commodore USA is reviving a classic, its clunky, boxy, taupe wonder, the Commodore 64.
A first computer for geeks everywhere, the 64KB Commodore 64 debuted in 1982-two years after its little brother, the 16-color, 5KB VIC 20. This time around, however, its gigantic keyboard will house a full all-in-one Ubuntu PC with a 1.8GHz Intel Atom processor and the option to include a 1TB drive, a Blu-ray drive and 4GB of RAM.
The BBC reports that the new C64 will even come complete with its unmistakable “clicky” keyboard. (Hear that, Lenovo, with your new-fangled keyboard noise-suppression technology? We like the clicky keyboard sound.)
But nostalgia don’t come cheap, kids. While Commodore originally charged $199, this time around they’ll give you the case and keyboard with a card-reader for $250. Boost that to $600 for the C64x Basic, and add another hundred bucks if WiFi and a DVD drive interest you. The way to go, suggests Wired, is with the $900 Ultimate edition, which gets you that optional Blu-ray drive, 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM.
eWEEK offered a trip down memory lane, reminding us that C64 love kept the early computer in production into the ’90s and fueled the creation of the C64 Direct-to-TV, a Commodore 64 emulator that wasn’t much more than “a joystick and some buttons with the full hardware inside, including 30 built-in games.” Unsurprisingly, it sold well on QVC.
In 1997, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 54, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., brought together computing’s old guard. Jack Tramiel, Commodore’s founder and former CEO-joined by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and William Lowe, building the IBM PC-explained how the company got its name.
According to Spencer F. Katt, Tramiel told those assembled, “Well, I had been in the Army, so I wanted to call my new company ‘General.’ But that was already taken-General Motors, General Foods, etc. Then I tried to name it ‘Admiral.’ Nope. So ‘Commodore’ was the only name left I liked.”
Tramiel added, “We didn’t make a lot of money on margin, but we made a lot of friends. They loved our product. I just wish we could have continued to do what we did.”
With Commodores finally back to doing what they did, sort of, the company is now taking orders. Units are expected to begin shipping between May and June, and hipsters should have clicky keyboards in their hands by the start of summer.
Now, if they’d just bring back William Shatner for the advertising, all would be right with the world.