Commodore Revived for 21st Century

For those that grew up tapping away on the giant keyboard of a Commodore 64, this news might be a welcome surprise. The brand is being resurrected – as a smartphone.

Sharing its name with Commodore’s other iconic PC, the Commodore PET is being created by a pair of Italian developers. According to Wired, Massimo Canigiani and Carlo Scattolini have acquired the rights to the brand name and trademark in 38 countries.

The new phone runs Android 5.0 on a 1.7GHz, 64-bit octa-core Mediatek CPU. An ARM Mali T760 GPU and 3,000mAh battery are also built in. The display is a 5.5″ unit with an IPS panel, protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

Daydream, an Android feature that can be used to choose what information appears on the display during charging, is built in. There are also some basic gesture controls, enabling interaction through shaking, flipping and waving at the phone.

Of course, there had to be a call-back to the phone’s origins, so the PET features two pre-installed emulators, which can run old Commodore 64 and Amiga games. These emulators are custom versions of the VICE C64 emulator and Uae4All2-SDL Amiga emulator. Canigiani and Scattolini told Wired that they are working with (unnamed) software design houses to pre-install several old games on the phones, as well.

Two different versions will be available when the PET is launched in Italy, France, Germany and Poland this year. The 16GB storage, 2GB of RAM model will cost $300, and the 32GB storage, 3GB of RAM unit will cost $365. Availability will expand to more European countries, and the USA, later.