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Commodore 64 Primed For a Comeback In June 330

Posted by timothy
from the new-use-old-number dept.
angry tapir writes "The Commodore 64 is getting a makeover, with a new design and some of the latest computing technologies, as the brand gets primed for a comeback. The revamped computer will be available through the Commodore USA online store, which is set to open June 1. The computer will be an all-in-one keyboard, with Intel's 64-bit quad-core microprocessors and 3D graphics capabilities."
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Commodore 64 Primed For a Comeback In June

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  • Clear Hoax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1karmik1 (963790) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:13AM (#31595932) Homepage
    Look. at. the. site. It's a chinese 3rd rate gadget imitator wet dream. There is a pseudo-configuration page vaguely mimicking Dell's one with no functionality. No logo. No design. and GOD that heinous thing in the pictures looks CLUNKY and CHEAP. This is a hoax. /. have seen several in the past years tied to the good old C64. I'm very surprised it made the front page :(
    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      Look. at. the. site.

      Trying. I think it's dead Jim.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by XiX36 (715429)
      I am suspicious as well, the built-in keyboard has windows keys. If it is being marketed as a machine to run multiple OS's, why not put the old C= symbol on those keys. Since they are using the name, why not use the logo as well? It's a minor point, but if this is real and they are resurrecting the name to appeal to those of us who remember messing around with Commodores then details like that might matter a bit. Certainly anyone who remembers playing around with basic on the livingroom tv could figure
    • by paazin (719486)
      Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

      You'd probably have little doubt that the site is genuine, if you simply examined it further. It really is rather pathetic -- they're looking for people to only purchase this slapped together crap for nostalgia's sake.

      No news story here folks, just another company trying to peddle something no one will buy.
      • Re:Clear Hoax (Score:5, Insightful)

        by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @11:32AM (#31598304) Journal

        It really is rather pathetic -- they're looking for people to only purchase this slapped together crap for nostalgia's sake.

        In that case, other than the nostalgia angle, I think they've captured the fundamental essence of Commodore marketing perfectly.

        -- idontgno, a still-frustrated-after-all-these-years Amiga partisan

    • by Svippy (876087)

      Look. at. the. site. It's a chinese 3rd rate gadget imitator wet dream. There is a pseudo-configuration page vaguely mimicking Dell's one with no functionality. No logo. No design. and GOD that heinous thing in the pictures looks CLUNKY and CHEAP. This is a hoax. /. have seen several in the past years tied to the good old C64. I'm very surprised it made the front page :(

      I think it is legit enough. Commodore USA is a registered company in the United States, and their site is quite clearly commodoreusa.net

      The actual issue is not so much that it looks like a hoax, but that it is so endlessly poorly carried out. It's pathetic! It's like watching Birdemic [wikipedia.org] , a product that tries to itself seriously, while everyone around it is laughing (and possibly crying a little inside).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        The actual issue is not so much that it looks like a hoax, but that it is so endlessly poorly carried out.

        I would tend to agree. But the original C64 was poorly carried out, too, so this as a nostalgia product has some merit.

        Now, before people roll out of the shag carpeting to rage at me, the C64 was an inexpensive and well marketed, but technically second rate product. I mean, they put a whole second 6502-type processor in the disk drive and set the machine up to read/write from the disk over a pokey-do

        • Re:Clear Hoax (Score:5, Informative)

          by rayd75 (258138) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:42AM (#31597560)

          I suspect that you had no first-hand experience with the 64, or that you experience was well after its heyday. When introduced, the 64 was more capable than most of its competitors and lower-priced as well. Remember, we are talking about a machine that occupied store shelves unchanged (save for cosmetic and cost reductions) for over a decade. By the time home users of any machine were considering hard drives, the C64's day was long-since over. At launch, its graphics were among the top available and its sound capabilities blew absolutely everything in the consumer market out of the water. Yes, the serial disk interface was slow even by 1982 standards, but only as an early example of a company opting for backwards compatibility over performance. The fast loader programs and cartridges didn't do some kind of magic, or fix a bug that Commodore let ship for 11 years; They simply rewrote the disk drive code to favor speed over compatibility with old PET systems.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by UnknownSoldier (67820)

            > When introduced, the 64 was more capable than most of its competitors and lower-priced as well.

            1. And all those expansion slots on the C64 are where again? Where was your 80x25 text again?

            2. It may be hard for you to take off the rose-colored history glasses. Let's take a look at the facts: The Apple I and Apple ][ open slot architecture and daughterboards spawned serial cards, parallel cards, modems, CPU daughter boards (could YOUR C64 host a Z80?), sound cards, voice (Echo I) cards, mouse, floppy d

    • Re:Clear Hoax (Score:5, Informative)

      by hob42 (41735) <jupo42@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @09:19AM (#31596588) Homepage Journal

      Wouldn't say it's a hoax... This keyboard PC has been on the market for years. This company [cybernetman.com] sells it as the ZPC (for Zero-footprint PC).

      Frankly, I wondered why it took so long for someone to decide to rebadge one as a Commodore. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Orion Blastar (457579)

      Made in China?

      "They took our jobs!" :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by crossmr (957846)

      apparently timothy is picking up kdawson's slack.

    • by Ch_Omega (532549) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:04PM (#31598902) Journal
      Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the exact same product as the Zero Footprint PC [cybernetman.com], exept, maybe they put a Commodore C= Sticker on it, and market it as a new Commodore 64.

      Seriously, compare these two pictures: Zero Footprint PC [cybernetman.com] and "new" Commodore 64 [commodoreusa.net]. Looks similar?
  • 64-bit?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:15AM (#31595954)

    with Intel's 64-bit quad-core microprocessors and 3D graphics capabilities

    Then it's not a Commodore 64, it's just a modern product trying to cash in on the famous name.

    • by dingen (958134)
      Exactly right. It doesn't even have a cassette drive.
      • by dzfoo (772245)

        Or a port for my 1541 drive.

            -dZ.

    • Re:64-bit?! (Score:5, Funny)

      by bjourne (1034822) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:28AM (#31596088) Homepage Journal
      Whew! Thanks for clearing up that misunderstanding for us. I mean, I don't think I was alone in thinking that a computer with an Intel 64-bit quad-core cpu was a Commodore 64. Internet needs more people like you to stop people from trying to cash in on famous names from spreading their disinformation!
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:15AM (#31595962)

    TFA says it's an Intel x86 based machine running Windows. The only thing Commodore about this thing is that it's built in to an oversized PC-style keyboard, and even that's a stretch. This is a Commodore in name only.

    • by dingen (958134)

      TFA says it's an Intel x86 based machine running Windows.

      That's interesting. I didn't know you could run Windows with 64K of RAM.

      • GEOS (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        That's interesting. I didn't know you could run Windows with 64K of RAM.

        You can't, unless you count GEOS [wikipedia.org]. That's why the 64 in this stands for a 64-bit CPU, like the Nintendo 64.

    • And why anyone would want to revive the Commodore name is beyond me. Commodore killed one of the best computers of its age... (the Amiga) Might as well brand your product the "Mein Furher" brand...
      • by tverbeek (457094)

        Because most of the millions of people who bought a C64 don't know or care about what happened with the Amiga. Adolf, on the other handm doesn't have any nostalgic associations for most people, and his ignoble legacy is a little better known, so your comparison is a bit of a stretch.

        And according to corollaries to Godwin's Law: you lose. :)

  • The computer will be an all-in-one keyboard, with Intel's 64-bit quad-core microprocessors and 3D graphics capabilities.

    So how is it a C64 then? I bet it doesn't even have 64K of RAM.

  • by dmgxmichael (1219692) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:16AM (#31595968) Homepage
    Seriously! I pulled the sticker off my old Commodore 64 this morning and put it on my computer. Now it too is a commodore 64!
    • I'm running Ubuntu on my NES. No fancy labelling, I just slipped an old cartridge into the empty 5.25" bay until it fit and wired up a controller to the serial port.

      At first it wouldn't boot, but blowing on the cartridge contacts worked a treat.
    • My car is a Commodore 64. It is also a George Foreman Grill.

    • by dzfoo (772245)

      That's nothing, I just put an Apple sticker on my C=64 and now it's a Mac.

            -dZ.

  • Good thing Frank Sinatra's not alive to see this...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sure, the C64 was a fantastic machine in its time. But that was the 1980s. Commodore hasn't been in the public consciousness for nearly two decades (the last Amigas from Commodore - the 1200 and 4000T - ceased production in 1996, if Wikipedia can be trusted). They're planning an all-in-one keyboard computer, just like the original C64, and I can pretty much guarantee: it'll flop. The design had good reason back in the 80s, but not so much now - they're banking upon the name driving sales, but I suspect a lo

    • Most of the younger generation (such as my self) has either never heard of C64 or never used one. I've never used one of these machines before; I might be interested in getting a modern remake if it was just as limited as the original, just to see how far we've come since that time period, but the brand means very little to me in a modern computer. The all-in-one design would be very hard for me to use on a day to day basis because of my desk arrangement, and the same applies to many of my friends' desks as
      • by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:35AM (#31596182)

        And this is why your generation sucks at programming.

      • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:42AM (#31596240)

        Your post makes me sad on two levels; first that at 25 I'm no longer part of the younger generation (nearly everyone my age has seen/used a C64 at least in their early grades of primary school); and secondly because there are poor people out there who have never had a chance to use one.

        Limited pfft: POKE, PEEK, and 64k is all anyone will ever need.

      • Most of the younger generation (such as my self) has either never heard of C64 or never used one. I've never used one of these machines before; I might be interested in getting a modern remake if it was just as limited as the original, just to see how far we've come since that time period, but the brand means very little to me in a modern computer. The all-in-one design would be very hard for me to use on a day to day basis because of my desk arrangement, and the same applies to many of my friends' desks as well. I concur that this will flop.

        Presumably, if you were to get such a device, you would move your existing computer elsewhere . . .

        For that matter, I see people of all ages using "all-in-one" computers every day. They call them laptops, notebooks, netbooks, etc. And these are even "all-in-oner" than a keyboard/computer with separate monitor like this "Commodore" sounds like -- haven't seen it, site is Slashdotted.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Most likely, I've seen computers that were built completely into the keyboard in recent years, but they haven't taken off. I'd be shocked if the name would be enough to change that.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:40AM (#31596218) Journal
      I see no reason for this particular outfit to succeed(keyboard computers are a niche, the C64 name isn't worth paying any extra for, Asus's oddball EEEboard will be out real soon now, etc.); but, the product itself has been around for some years now, which suggests that it is still making money, albeit in a niche.

      Unless the latest outfit wearing a mask made from Commodore's flayed face is simply stealing clip art, what they are selling is a simple rebadge of Cybernet's "ZPC" [cybernetman.com]. Those things have been around at least since the P4 was the face of "intel inside" possibly earlier. Unless Cybernet is an ass about small quantities or something, there is absolutely no reason to order from some fly-by-night rebadge house; but the product is real enough, and presumably has enough of a niche(probably space constrained POS applications and similar) to justify the engineering costs of shoving a laptop motherboard into a keyboard housing for the past few generations of x86 hardware.
  • Really, what's the point.

    Well, I had a Commodore 64 (or was it a Vic=20, never knew the difference and I was barely old enough to use it)

    The age of different consumer computer archs is over, unfortunatelly, gone with the last Apple PPC. It made sense on those days, but now...

    I don't see the point of grabbing a PC and slapping a C64 sticker on it. At least it should come with a C64 emulator :P :P

  • by zr-rifle (677585) <zedr@@@zedr...com> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:19AM (#31596002) Homepage
    ... but a rebranding that - put simply - insults the name of the good old '64.

    Seriously: what does this have to do with the old 8bit microcomputer?
    • Can I peek or poke the memory?
    • Can I play Turrican and Hawkeye on it?
    • Does it have a SID?
    • Does it even read my old datassettes?
    • And yes... it does run Linux, sadly...

      Those wishing to a Commodore 64 should look elsewhere [c64upgra.de] (or Ellsworth - haha, lame I know...)

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      You can do all that with a C64 emulator, yes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by lxs (131946)

      It runs a crappy excuse for an operating system made by Microsoft. So in that way it is very similar to the old 64.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      They could have put an emulator on and do all this.
      I kind of wish someone would create a mythical NextGen C64. Kind of what Commodore might have made if they had made a better C128.
      Imagine a 65816 CPU and an HD64180 to replace the z80 .

  • Not Commodore 64 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:21AM (#31596022)

    It's called the "Phoenix". "Commodore" is just the brand.

  • by xerent_sweden (1010825) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:22AM (#31596024)
    Looks like the new commodore is a computer of rank, as it's been through major revisions in general. I wonder what kernel it will incorporalte.
  • Are you sure that's not April 1?
  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:28AM (#31596082) Journal
  • Upgrades? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wjousts (1529427) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:29AM (#31596098)

    From the commodoreusa website:

    There’s nothing like it. At just 17.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall, it’s designed to take up far less room — and use far less energy — than any other desktop computer.

    So, in other words, it's a desktop that will be a colossal PITA upgrade and will probably use non-standard parts to get everything to fit. All the upgrade inconvenience of a laptop with none of the advantages.

    • by dingen (958134) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:32AM (#31596138)

      So, in other words, it's a desktop that will be a colossal PITA upgrade and will probably use non-standard parts to get everything to fit.

      Hmm... now that you put it that way, it kinda does resemble the original C64 after all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      There's nothing like it. At just 17.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall, it's designed to take up far less room -- and use far less energy -- than any other desktop computer.

      So, in other words, it's a desktop that will be a colossal PITA upgrade and will probably use non-standard parts to get everything to fit. All the upgrade inconvenience of a laptop with none of the advantages.

      Seems more like an updated Amiga 600HD to me. A600 was 14x9.5"x3" and weighed about 6 lbs (with a big goofy external power supply whereon lies the switch... ugh.) 'Course, that had a 68000...

  • by AC-x (735297) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:31AM (#31596112)

    ... to host their website?

  • I am Junis, a refugee from the last regime of the United States. Our former oppressors ridiculed Commodore machines and as such I had hid my 2010 Commodore 64 behind my meager 65" LCD Television. Had it been found, I might have been criticized for buying such a brand of computer by my peers.

    I could still see the dust of the pick-up trucks carrying Dell computers out of my village and some friends and I went and dug through the PS3, XBox 360 and Wii cables by the LCD TV where I had hid the computer. T
  • The C64, an eulogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zr-rifle (677585) <zedr@@@zedr...com> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:35AM (#31596174) Homepage
    Since it will be some time before I get to see the good old C64 mentioned on the Slashdot first page, I'd like to say that Jack Tramiel is the unsung hero of the personal computer, even more than Steve Jobs in this regard. He advocated a computer 'for the classes, not for the masses'. By driving down the retail price and selling the C64 in toy stores and Walmart, he created a broader market and introduced a lot of low-to-middle class kids, who could not afford the Apple II or the Macintosh, to the joys of computing.

    By sparking the low-cost microcomputer revolution of the eighties, he prepared a whole generation to the modern digital age.

    Jack Tramiel's Wikipedia entry. [wikipedia.org]
    • by discord5 (798235)

      I'd like to say that Jack Tramiel is the unsung hero of the personal computer [snip] By sparking the low-cost microcomputer revolution of the eighties, he prepared a whole generation to the modern digital age.

      10 PRINT "THANK YOU JACK TRAMIEL"
      20 GOTO 10

      If it wasn't for the C64 I'd probably have never gotten into this stuff. God only knows what I would've wasted the years as a teenager on.

    • Tramiel was an ass, though. Sure, his contribution to the end effect was good, but talk about mistreatment of engineers. If you want unsung heroes, let's mention Bob Yannes and Al Charpentier and Charles Winterble.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gregthebunny (1502041)

      He advocated a computer 'for the classes, not for the masses'.

      Jack Tramiel's Wikipedia entry. [wikipedia.org]

      Um... wiki article says:

      It was during this time period that he coined the famous phrase, "We need to build computers for the masses, not the classes."

    • by Delusion_ (56114) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:26AM (#31597318) Homepage

      Jack Tramiel may be an unsung hero of the personal computer, but he also had the dubious distinction of playing key roles in the destruction of two of the most important computer companies of the era, Commodore and later, Atari.

      Tramiel - and more importantly, his engineers - is often left out in the modern retelling of the personal computer story, which is often presented as if everything that wasn't Intel, Microsoft, and Apple was some sort of bizarre tangental experiment that really didn't matter. Sadly, his management style was typical of the small-minded businessman, who treated his company as a fief and a playground for his personal grudges.

      I often wonder how the Amiga would have fared long-term if a more competently-managed company than Commodore had bought it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zr-rifle (677585)
        Tramiel had nothing to do with the Amiga or Commodore's reknown bad management, that came *after* he left the company; try asking David Pleasance about that. Atari was already in bad shape when Tramiel and his son took over.

        Tramiel did try to buy out project Lorraine from Hi-Toro, but Commodore managed to land the deal (and 'f*ck up' the machine, as a famous Workbench easter egg recited).

        By the way, long live Jay Miner [wikipedia.org], Commodore's Steve Wozniak.
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:37AM (#31596198) Homepage Journal
    If it doesn't boot to BASIC, and require

    load "*",8,1

    to start software, it isn't commodore 64. Case closed.

  • http://www.cybernetman.com/en/products/zero-footprint-pc/ [cybernetman.com] hell, they didn't even bother to change the filenames for the images they nicked off the site
  • What it really is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bickerdyke (670000) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:49AM (#31596298)

    Casemod.

    nothing more, nothing less. a Wintel-PC with funny hat.

  • I had a C+64 once. It was the 4th computer I bought.

  • by HonestButCurious (1306021) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:58AM (#31596360) Journal

    Circa March 2008:
    http://www.cybernetman.com/en/products/zero-footprint-pc/zpc-gx31.cfm [cybernetman.com]
    They even reused the stock footage.
    Should cost at least $700, according to Gizmodo Australia:
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2008/03/cybernet_zpcgx31_a_pc_in_a_keyboardsized_case-2/ [gizmodo.com.au]

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @09:12AM (#31596504)
    ... into a ZX81 form factor.

    ALL HAIL CLIVE SINCLAIR!
  • This is not the only famous old computer related name+logo that is being "miss used" to flog PC parts. See http://www.acorncomputers.co.uk/ [acorncomputers.co.uk] for another example.
  • David Haye announced today that he's changing his name to "Mike Tyson." What a comeback!
  • It's about time. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:10AM (#31597116) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I know, it's a Commodore in name only. However, it's about time that someone gave this venerable form factor another shot in the market. Why should I throw away a perfectly good monitor every couple of years just because the Macintosh inside it is obsolete? I've been saying for years that they should build the guts of the computer into the keyboard, not the monitor.

    I'm ready to see this form factor start to get deployed again. Now that the typical desktop computer doesn't have quite as many cables coming out of it as it did a few years ago, it's time.
  • by benwiggy (1262536) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:21AM (#31597228)

    If you go to the company's website, on the link in the article, they claim it will run OS X. Interesting to see how quickly Apple's lawyers move in for the kill

    Oh, and I submitted this story to Slashdot a week ago. Tsk.

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