The legendary Commodore PET lives again, as a nostalgia-fueled Android phone

In 1977, Commodore International introduced its first personal computer, the PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). It quickly became a popular choice in the newly emerging PC market. Now, that legendary device is back--but this time it's an Android-based smartphone rocking two emulators for classic Commodore machines. The handsets are launching this week in Europe, likely with a U.S. launch to follow.

Two Italian designers were able to snag the rights to the Commodore name--the original company went belly up in 1994--for 38 countries (U.S. included), according to Wired. The pair are operating under a company called Commodore Business Machines Limited.

The impact on you at home: The PET doesn't look like it will break any new ground with innovative features or a forward-thinking design. Instead, this handset is all about appealing to retro PC fans who will get a nostalgic kick out of rocking a Commodore device in 2015.

This is the second time a company has tried to resurrect the Commodore brand. In 2010, a company called Commodore USA gained rights to the name and introduced a few PCs before fizzling.

Blast from the past

The PET smartphone offers a fairly solid set of specs including a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 1.7GHz Mediatek 64-bit processor, 13MP rear-facing camera, 8MP front snapper, and 4G dual SIM. On the back will be Commodore's traditional "C=" logo, and the developers may even create a version that uses the logo as a stylized home button, Wired says.

There will be two flavors to the handset: a light version will feature 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, while the regular model packs 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. The phone will also rock a microSD slot supporting up to 64GB of additional storage and will come with a 32GB microSD as part of the package. Both phones are set to come in white, black and retro beige, but other colors might be ready by the time the phone shows up stateside.

Without a U.S. release date in sight it's not clear what the official pricing will be. When the phones roll out in Europe in the coming days, however, the light version will retail for the equivalent of $300 and the regular will be about $365.

Emulation station

For retro PC fans, the phone's software is where things get really interesting. The device will have a custom version of Android 5.0, and will also come with emulators for the Commodore 64 and Amiga--two other popular Commodore PCs from the 1980s. In addition, the new company hopes to make old Commodore games available so users don't have to scour the Internet for something to run on their Commodore emulators.

Anyone interested in the escapades of the new Commodore company can follow them on Twitter or sign-up for updates on the company's website.


Ian Paul

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