Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

Summary:Having one of the most revered brands in the history of personal computing isn't enough for the latest person attempting to revive the Commodore. According to Brandweek, entrepreneur Barry Altman is planning a whopping $30 million advertising campaign to resuscitate the iconic brand, which has been brought back to life in a few different incarnations, including as a series of high-end gaming PCs.

Having one of the most revered brands in the history of personal computing isn't enough for the latest person attempting to revive the Commodore. According to Brandweek, entrepreneur Barry Altman is planning a whopping $30 million advertising campaign to resuscitate the iconic brand, which has been brought back to life in a few different incarnations, including as a series of high-end gaming PCs.

While the Commodore name is legendary in computer circles for vintage systems like the Commodore 64 and the Amiga line, Altman thinks he needs to spend, spend, spend to familiarize younger generations with the brand: "I'm pushing 60 and people in that age group know the C64 very well, but there's a whole other generation that has never heard of it. We have to get this brand back on its feet quickly." Commodore USA is using that big chunk of money for national TV spots in anticipation of the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Hopefully, the new venture set some of that $30 million aside to revamp its Web site, which looks like it didn't cost even $30,000 to produce. Commodore USA currently sells its Phoenix PC-in-a-keyboard line, which you can get in a bare bones edition that costs $475 or in various configurations, all the way up to one featuring a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 processor and 2TB hard drive for $1,295. It's betting heavily on that form factor with new models coming like the Invictus and Amigo, both of appear equipped for basic computing tasks.

But the big introduction will be the PC64, which is a replica of the beige Commodore 64 of yore, including a mechanical keyboard. This millennium's version comes with an Intel Atom D525 processor, Nvidia Ion 2 graphics, terabyte hard drive, and an optical drive. Pricing hasn't been announced, but it's due before the end of the year. Interestingly, Commodore is eschewing Windows and installing the Ubuntu flavor of Linux on its machines, including a forthcoming 10-inch laptop called the Totebook. The company plans to release more all-in-one keyboard PCs under the Amiga name, which it just licensed in a deal completed last month.

All of the marketing money being spent won't help if Commodore USA doesn't update its online presence and diversify its product line, in case the keyboard PC doesn't take hold like it's the 1980s all over again. Despite my doubts, I'm definitely curious to see if the Commodore name can finally be successfully resurrected. Would you buy one of the new Commodore PCs? Let us know in the Comments section.

Topics: Hardware

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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