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

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.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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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.

Topic: Hardware

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

    I want a classic car, but I don't need a retro computer.
    cushcalc
  • Sounds interesting, but, if they are not going with Windows, better use Arm

    NT.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

      @DonnieBoy

      And kill their performance?

      These things aren't notebooks, they're not really designed to run on batteries. They don't need to worry about power consumption so much.
      CobraA1
    • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

      @DonnieBoy

      I'm afraid I'm just not getting this.

      I thought the whole point was to put all the advanced stuff into an iconic old box. Then they put LINUX in? That makes it almost as useful as the original Commodore 64.

      I also don't understand how they intend to sell it. Linux users actually paying for something? I don't think so ;-)

      Oh and I had an Exidy Sorcerer - the only one that ran CP/M at the time from a cartridge so just like today with Windows, you could get some real work done.

      I'm sure Donnie will get one anyway ;-)
      tonymcs@...
  • I have Vic 20

    with a black and white TV I am willing to sell for cheap ;-)
    Economister
    • Use to own one of those myself....

      @Economister
      My very first PC I think it was. External tape drive for I/O classic. Peeked and Poked my first game:P Ah those were the days of the hobbiest/geek to be sure.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

      @Economister I actually have a functioning Commodore Pet 4032 sitting right in front of me ... some of the keys are a little bit of a problem, but it still turns on !!!
      Ludovit
      • My neighbor had one of those

        @Ludovit

        Cost him about $5000 in total. Back then, that was REAL money.
        Economister
  • How about a Sinclair?

    Did Basic like a champ!
    Userama
    • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

      @Userama
      I have a Timex/Sinclair complete with the 16K add on cartridge and several programs on tape. Are you interested?
      fromthehip
    • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

      @Userama Nostalgia writing BASIC programs GOTO 1984 :)
      bobmuks
  • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

    "This millennium?s version comes with an Intel Atom D525 processor, Nvidia Ion 2 graphics, terabyte hard drive, and an optical drive."

    Isn't a terabyte drive a bit overkill for something running an Atom CPU? If you're really pushing enough media and/or games to fill a terabyte drive, you probably want a CPU with a bit more horsepower.
    CobraA1
  • Looks fun, but how practical?

    I have many fond memories of my old C64, memories which this little sucker brings flooding back. But other than nostalgic folks like me, what's the target demographic?

    I could see it as a fun home-theater PC, if the computer has a prominent place near the TV.

    It's nice for those without a lot of floorspace (or somewhere to stash a separate PC box), but there are already plenty of Netbook and PC-in-monitor products out there that fill the same niche.

    It's definitely not for people who want a clean-looking desktop, because of all the cables that will be attached to the back of the computer (power, video, audio, USB). And that also makes it more difficult to place the keyboard in more-ergonomic positions. Or in your lap, like I occasionally did with the original C64 (and it was awkward then, too!)

    If this doodad were competitively priced with similarly powered computers, then I might get one as a small webserver. It'd live in my computer room on a visible corner of my main desk. I could pull it out and tap away, but more likely I'd SSH into the computer so I could use a modern keyboard layout instead of the funky C64 layout. IIRC, the keys on my old C64 were kinda stiff...
    R_Connelie@...
  • My first computer was a Commodore 64 ...

    ... but I think these guys should just be a Windows OEM; create slick, modern PCs; differentiate themselves somehow, and use the power of the Commodore brand to sell their products. Only a tiny percentage of the population buys any one classic item, and I don't think this company should expect anything different with their PCs.

    I loved my Commodore 64 and Amiga 1000 computers. But times have changed, and I don't think these old computer designs make that much sense today.
    P. Douglas
  • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

    I suspect we'll be seeing these for sale for cheap at Woot this time next year
    R.L. Parson
  • Will getting the "brand" revived include being faithful to the original?

    Most people have problems finding the "Start" button or "Tab" key... much less a revived version of C64's command line interface...

    If they're reviving a word, the "brand", they may as well sell ketchup and slap a "Commodore 64" sticker on it.

    I'll buy a PC with a novel design, or a design based loosely on an old computer chassis and innovated on, but what's the point of digging up old brand and "remaking them for new customers"? Sounds a lot like how Hollywood is taking dead TV and movies and ruining the original intent by tarting up the effects and whittling away the original concept with sarcastic drivel and hawking it instead... in effect, selling rubbish and ironically ruining the original, REAL "brand" in the process.
    HypnoToad72
  • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

    Don't think I need a new C64. I still have a Timex/Sinclair, a VIC20 and a couple of 64s. That and my 2 Ataris should take care of me.
    anne.toney@...
  • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

    Don't think I'll buy a new one. Still have a Timex/Sinclair, a VIC20, a couple of C64's, and a couple of Atari's. That should take care of me.
    anne.toney@...
  • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

    The C=64 was my first love, used it for years before I upgraded to the C=128. Then a year later I upgraded again to the awesome Amiga 500, which I still have in a closet today.
    To put the C=64 name on a computer that won't even run old C=64 programs is about like putting Ferrari on a Volkswagon. Sorry, it just don't add up. And why in the world would I want a C=64 keyboard on a Linux OS? There's not a whole lot of keys to choose from....
    Tinman57
  • RE: Latest Commodore reviver planning to spend $30 million to market new PCs, including C64 replica

    Don't believe them. This is just another Bill McEwen trick like the $10M they said they would spend in the Kent arena. The real goal of the news probably has to do with creditors and legal matters.

    See http://sites.google.com/site/freeamiga/
    tj-amiga