A tribute to Jack Tramiel, father of Commodore 64 (gallery)

A tribute to Jack Tramiel, father of Commodore 64 (gallery)

Summary: Jack Tramiel was the king of the computer industry in the 1980s when the market for home computers first took off.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware, CXO
2

 |  Image 3 of 13

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Thumbnail 13
  • Tramiel began using the name Commodore in 1952 with Commodore Portable Typewriters. He then turned to sales of typewriters, followed by adding machines, and calculators with some success before moving to computers.

    In this video, Jack tells ZDNet's Violet Blue that he founded Commodore Computing "by accident" and that he never cheats at Pac-Man.

  • Tramiel made his best move by buying chipmaker MOS Technologies which owned the 8-bit 6502 chip that became the dominant CPU for several years. You could find it in many Commodore products including the C64 and in other well-known computers such as the Apple I, Atari 400/800, and Apple II.

    He used his chip to undercut the prices of his competitors leading to the success of Commodore Computers.

  • The first Commodore computer built during Tramiel's tenure was called the PET 2001 or Personal Electronic Transactor and was released in 1977. According to the Commodore PET Alive fan site: it "was a fully integrated computer with the monitor, motherboard, keyboard and cassette drive all in one package" - a big advantage over the competition.

    The first PET models had 4KB of RAM and a black-and-white screen of 40x25 character graphics. Later models featured 8KB RAM and 12-inch screens. It also had a chicklet keyboard.

    PET's astounding early success was a big surprise to Commodore leading to major backorders soon after it was launched.

     

Topics: Hardware, CXO

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

Talkback

2 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Heck of a life

    Never thought about his life.
    He experienced a lot.
    I remember working on commercial equipment with the old 6800 chip.
    Way way back when.
    MoeFugger
  • Atari 520 ST

    Boy, the Atari ST sure brings back memory. Even todays PC doesn't have such a nice design
    bojanwojan