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Someone Finally Resurrected the Commodore Brand for Something Useful

Illustration for article titled Someone Finally Resurrected the Commodore Brand for Something Useful

Various entrepreneurs have tried to bring back the legendary Commodore computer brand for years, all of them inevitably ending up bankrupt. Now a couple of Italian designers think they’ve got the silver bullet solution to tapping into 80s nostalgia: a smartphone. It’s too bad they decided to make it look so boring.


The soon-to-be-released Commodore PET smartphone looks like a lot of other smartphones on the market. Running a custom version of Android Lollipop, it’ll sport a 1.7 GHz octo-core processor, a 13-megapixel camera, and 3,000 mAh battery. The PET will also come with two emulators to run classic Commodore 64 and Amiga games. Blah blah blah. It’s a useful smartphone.

But why? Why did Commodore’s newest proprietors decide to release such a snooze of a design?A few months ago, Massimo Battaglia—an Italian designer that is not to be confused with Massimo Canigiani who now owns the Commodore brand—designed a pretty rad C64 smartphone that borrowed subtle elements of the original, iconic Commodore desktop computer. Instead of something truly unique, retro, and fun, the new Commodore PET just looks like a Huawei knockoff.


One small consolation is that the PET will be released in Europe in an old school biscuit beige color. So at least some people will be able to resurrect that classic nicotine-stained console look in a smartphone. Otherwise, Commodore is back and as boring as ever.


Image via Commodore

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Reader’s guide for young people: this is the 1977 Commodore Pet computer. It came standard with 4 KB of ram, 512 x 512 monochrome video, a sort of “Chiclet” keyboard, and cassette tape storage. It originally retailed for $495, or about $2,000 in today dollars. We thought it was great.