Iconic 1980s Commodore 64 computer lives

April 8, 2011 at 3:40 PM
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LOS ANGELES, April 8 (UPI) -- The iconic Commodore 64 computer from the early 1980s is back, looking the same but with all-new up-to-date technology under the hood, company officials say.

It's still beige, still looks like a giant keyboard with fully-functional computer sitting underneath, but the technological heart beating inside is all new, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

It has some features even some of today's computers haven't yet provided, like HDMI outputs to connect to a high-definition television and an optional combination Blue-Ray and DVD player, the newspaper said.

And the price for the base model is even the same as it was for a similar base unit in 1982 -- $595.

The new Commodore 64 went on sale on the company's Web site Tuesday and sold out within 24 hours although company officials aren't saying how many have been produced.

"We expected our audience to be the nostalgia crowd and that's true, a lot of people buying them owned an original Commodore 64 back in the '80s, like me," said Barry Altman, chief executive of Commodore USA.

"But we're also finding that there are young kids who are geek geniuses who have iPhones and iPads and things like that and they're looking at this thing and they're into it. They've actually been a big part of our customer base so far too. It's been a surprise."

Altman formed Commodore USA a year ago and licensed the rights to the Commodore trademark in September precisely to bring back the old computer for which he had a passion.

"It's a good basic computer for work, for e-mail, for multimedia use, for even basic gaming," Altman said.

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