Commodore rises from the ashes

Commodore is a name that is firmly entwined with computing folklore but according to latest news from the States it is a name that is about to rise from the ashes.

As I'm sure is the case for many others, Commodore computers formed a key role in my formative computing years. I was brought up on the Vic20 before progressing to a Commodore 128, with its unique ability to switch back to Commodore 64 mode, before being wowed by the graphics and sounds from the Amiga.

These were the days when the Commodore Amiga slugged it out with the Atari ST in people’s homes before the arrival of the IBM PC effectively sounded the company’s death knell.

I was, therefore, interested to read that nearly twenty five years after the release of the Vic20, and after numerous owners, the Commodore brand is back with three new products set to be launched at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the beginning of January.

The Commodore Multimedia Tower, MediaBox and Navigator see the latest Commodore incarnation attempt to stake out a place in the ever expanding digital market.

The Multimedia Tower is a kiosk intended for retailers that will allow consumers to purchase legal digital media, from digital music through to mobile games and ringtones.

The MediaBox, meanwhile, is intended for the living room. The all-in-one home entertainment set will come with a hard drive for recording TV programs, as well as the ability to play videos, music and photos on a television.

The final product, the Navigator, is a portable GPS device running on Windows CE, with a 20GB hard drive that will play a variety of audio and media files.

Of course, Commodore itself has long since been reduced to nothing more than a name, and you could well argue that this is just the latest in a line of cynical attempts to exploit the Commodore brand. Nonetheless, hearing the Commodore name again was enough to bring back happy memories and a smile to my face.