Rescue PET: Commodore begs you to take home its Android phone

Commodore -- yes, as in Commodore 64 -- is angling for a brand comeback with the PET, an Android phone that's allegedly hitting select countries in Europe for $300.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey
2 min read

Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET

Get ready to party like it's 1977, because Commodore is back. Yes, the brand that introduced computing to people born in the 70s is having another crack at the 21st century, this time with an Android-powered smartphone.

While the brand name is probably most famous for being attached to the Commodore 64 and the VIC 20, Commodore's first PC was the PET 2001, shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show back in 1977.

The original Commodore PET from 1977. SSPL via Getty Images

It's this seminal bit of home computing that Commodore PET android phone takes its name from. The acronym PET stands for Personal Electronic Transactor, rather adorably.

The new PET is a fairly high-specced phone, with the Commodore Smart website revealing that while this 5.5-inch number might only be sporting a 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, it has a fair bit going on under the hood.

The 64-bit octa-core processor runs at 1.7GHz and is backed up by 3GB of RAM. There's 32GB of storage with an extra 64GB of MicroSD supported and the battery is 3,000mAh.

Camera-wise the PET has a 13-megapixel snapper on the rear and 8 megapixels on the front for your selfie and Skype needs. Finally, it's going to ship with Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop installed and it's set up for dual SIM cards.

Wired had a quite extensive hands-on with the Commodore PET which revealed a few more details. The processor is being made by Mediatek and there's an ARM Mali T760 GPU inside.

Wired also reported that the specs above are for the high-end model, which will cost $365, or around £235/AU$470. A lower end model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage will be available for $300 (roughly £190/AU$400).

In a nod to its parentage and a love of all things retro, the PET will also have two emulators pre-installed to run vintage software: VICE, a Commodore 64 emulator, and the unfortunately named Uae4All2-SDL which will run Amiga programs.

The Commodore PET is, once again according to Wired, initially launching in Italy, France, Germany, and Poland with more European and American countries getting the phone at a later date.

This isn't the first time the Commodore brand has attempted to rise from the grave. Back in 2010 a company called Commodore USA brought out the C64x and the VIC, both PCs designed to resemble their ancient forebears. These weren't exactly embraced by consumers, so lets hope the PET has a slightly easier ride.