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Commodore PET Android smartphone launched

by Mark Tyson on 15 July 2015, 10:36

Tags: Commodore USA

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Legendary computer company Commodore has risen again, with an all new Commodore PET due to launch across Europe later this week. This new device is not very closely related to the original Commodore PET, launched back in 1977, it's not even a desktop computer – this is an Android smartphone.

Old Commodore PET (left) and new the Commodore PET smartphone

Commodore was a leader in personal and home computers through the 80s and into the early 90s. It's most famous product, the Commodore 64, was reputedly the biggest selling computer ever with 17 million bought. It followed up that 8-bit computer with the 16-bit Amiga which also did extremely well. However the company hit the rocks in the early 90s, it was 'doomed' as powerful 3D accelerated PCs started to become more popular in the home environment.

Now Wired reports that the Commodore brand and trademark have been registered by a pair of Italian entrepreneurs; Massimo Canigiani and Carlo Scattolini. They've been working on and have now put together the Commodore PET smartphone. The Wired writer, Murizio Pesce, met with the new owners to talk about the product and give it a try. First impressions were that it "is an Android phone of rather common design," with a Commodore logo.

Commodore PET smartphone specifications

  • 5.5-inch IPS 1920×1080 pixel screen, coated with Gorilla Glass 3
  • 1.7 GHz Mediatek 64-bit octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali T760 GPU
  • Main camera has a 13MP Sony sensor with a bright f/2.0 aperture, dedicated shutter button
  • 8MP selfie camera with 80 degree wide angle lens
  • Dual-SIM 4G connectivity
  • Aluminium frame construction with interchangeable polycarbonate covers in white, biscuit-beige, green, blue and other colours
  • 3000mAh battery

There will be two models produced with the above specs in common but with differing amounts of memory. The $300 Light model will offer 16GB storage and 2GB RAM, a $365 regular model will offer 32GB storage and 3GB RAM. Both models come with a 32GB microSD card pre-installed and you can swap in your own, up to 64GB in capacity.

Special software sauce

As described thus far the Commodore PET smartphone is indeed very common. However the makers hope to inject enough differentiation, via software, to make it more attractive than the huge number of Android smartphone competitors out there. Wired were told that the Android 5.0 Lollipop system on the phones would be joined by a pair of pre-installed emulators. "Customized versions of the VICE C64 emulator and the Uae4All2-SDL Amiga emulator," will be installed on the shipping versions of the Commodore PET. Furthermore the new Commodore is working with some unnamed software houses to allow it to pre-install a number of classic games on the handset before it ships.

On the subject of availability, the Commodore PET will initially be made available this week in Italy, France, Germany, and Poland with plans to expand availability to other European countries and America in the near future.

Are any HEXUS retro computing fans interested in this all new Commodore PET, or are you still waiting for the Atari phone?

HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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Very quaint. Lincensees of the Commodore name and brands do really like to go down the road of installing C64 and Amiga emulators on whatever they are hawking.

Still, at least it isn't a badger's arse of a phone, and presumably also uses stock Android. Price isn't to bad for what you get either.
Imported generic Chinese android phablet + Purchased name with nostalgia = Press release that gets picked up by the likes of Hexus.

Win for those involved as free press starts incorrectly with “Legendary computer company Commodore has risen again”.
Not stock Android at all - uses a changed version of lollipop 5.1.1
Nice, I was wondering what it was all about when they launched the new website a month or so ago, couldn't quite decide whether some sort of handheld tablet device aimed at gaming like the JXD Gaming Tab or a smartphone.

Sometimes the details are in the software, it is pretty big that it is coming with a version of UAE, Vice is already available on Android as is UAE4Droid. Thing with UAE though (Amiga Emulator) is that it requires the original Kickstart files which are still owned and copywrite is enforced. To be able to use UAE you have to dump your own Kickstart file from your original machine, so it is pretty cool that they have managed to sort this side of things out.

Either that or they have been speaking to the legendary Amiga game creators Cinemaware who have their own emulator called Rock Lobster which is how they have been releasing their Amiga classics on GOG and Steam.

Phone itself has a nice spec for the price and could be an ideal upgrade in the mid / high tier of phones. I will seriously consider going Commodore (being the HUGE fan I am and still owning and using my 1985 C64), granted I cannot upgrade for around another year and a half so hopefully this new venture will stick.

Now all we need is something like the ZX Vega and 48k Bluetooth Keyboard in C64 form!
Not stock Android at all - uses a changed version of lollipop 5.1.1
Changed - how?

My Lenovo tablet isn't stock, but the changes they made were pretty minor ones.

As to the Pet phone - I'll reserve judgement until I see some UK reviews and prices. If they do a $1=£1 then I can't see it selling. Just wish some of the PRC makers like Meizu etc were able to sell over here, would certainly shake the market up.