Commodore back in the Game?

Commodore 64 The Geeks will visit CES in Vegas early next month so we have been bombarded with meeting requests and new product announcements. One of the more interesting product announcements is from a company called Commodore.

If you’re a geek, you know all about Commodore… yeah, the little company that launched one of the most popular and best selling computers back in 1982 called the Commodore 64. After gobbling up Amiga in 1985, Commodore then released the first multimedia computer called the Amiga 1000. The gaming world owes a debt of gratitude to Commodore’s platforms and games. So what have they done lately?

Fast forward twenty years and Commodore is set to release three new products under the Commodore brand including: Commodore Multimedia Tower, Commodore MediaBox and the Commodore Navigator.

The Commodore Multimedia Tower is a standalone kiosk (or wall unit) which will allow consumers to purchase legal digital media such as digital music, mobile phone ring tones, games and wallpapers. The Tower is compatible with most mobile phones and MP3 players worldwide.

Commodore’s second offering, the Commodore MediaBox is tauted as an all-in-one home entertainment set including not only a hard disk recorder but an ability to play videos, music and photos on television. The MediaBox also will allow customers to purchase via television services such as music downloads, ring tones, games, video on demand and photo printing service. Equipped with an 80GB hard drive and a digital TV tuner, the MediaBox requires an Internet connection to watch thousands of video streams including sports, events, movie trailers and even concerts.

Commodore’s final offering at CES is the Commodore Navigator which is a portable GPS device running Windows CE on a 20GB hard drive for maps as well as loading and playing audio and video. With a nice 3.6″ touch screen, the Navigator can operate in day or night mode using 2D and 3D images to let you know where you are. The Navigator has all the standard features of a GPS unit but is capable of MP3 decoding as well as playing WMA audio as well as playing both MPEG and DivX video files. Unfortunately, the combo is also DRM compatible.

Commodore should be an interesting visit at CES. I really need to take a look at the MediaBox and Navigator, but the products being introduced seem cool enough, but I have a feeling their Commodore 64 Joystick that directly plugs into TV will probably remain one of their hottest products. I’m not sure Commodore’s Multimedia Tower will be used by consumers purchasing digital media as iTunes works well for most people and cell phone media is usually bought through the cell phones connection. The MediaBox will have to contend with some heavyweights in it’s product arena, heavyweights with proven products and market share. Finally, the Navigator sounds like a cool gizmo but with most geeks getting cars with built-in GPS and with portable GPS’ not at the top of most people’s lists, Commodore does not seem to have a C64 type product on the horizon.

We’ll definitely check out Commodore at CES and maybe our minds will be changed.