Friday Dec 09, 2022

10 Reasons the Commodore 64 Was Such a Special Computer – SlashGear


The Commodore 64, or C64, showed up on the market in 1982, at a time when personal computers were in their infancy but also growing exponentially. Previously, computer technology was the stuff of massive mainframes in research departments or government organizations. While these companies produced computers suitable for use in the home, it did not mean everyone could afford one. 

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In fact, having a computer in the home was quite a privilege back then — and making computers more accessible stands as the greatest legacy of the C64. Computer technology in the 1970s went through tumultuous changes in adapting from serving primarily institutional customers and on to creating products for consumers at home. Video games and personal computers burst onto the scene at about the same time and offered consumers new ways to interact with technology. But Commodore changed everything, and its iconic product, the Commodore 64, was special for myriad reasons. Here are 10 of them.

The time was right for a Commodore 64 to appear


This stage was set for a company to come along and take the market by storm with an innovative product for the masses, and that is exactly what Commodore did. Apple, Radio Shack, and IBM introduced personal computers in the late ’70s and early ’80s that, for the first time, enabled some families to own a computer and use it at home for a variety of purposes, according to Brittanica. 

People found multiple uses for personal computers such as accounting, word processing, and video games. At the same time these machines entered the market, Brittanica noted, technology rapidly developed, causing computers to become ever more powerful and less expensive simultaneously. Once people got a taste for new technology, the desire to own it increased exponentially. But with the high cost of existing hardware, room existed in the market for a low-cost player to fulfill demand. 

The Commodore 64 made home PCs affordable

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While Commodore had been an established technology company already for a couple of decades, CEO Jack Tramiel made many decisions that resulted in lowering manufacturing costs, including purchasing 100% of chip maker MOS Technology, Inc. This brought production costs down significantly and allowed the brand to undercut its rivals by hundreds of dollars. At the time of introduction, the retail price of the C64 was $595, according to Smithsonian. 

In 1984, the cost of an Apple IIe 64k MSRP was $1395, the cost of a Radio Shack TRS-80 III 16k was $999, and the IBM PC 64k was $1,355, as stated in Commodore advertising of the day. While the C64 may not have come with the same equipment, the low initial cost of ownership made it appealing to average working-class families. 

Furthermore, because of the falling cost of componentry at the time, the MSRP of the C64 fell to as low as $230 by the mid-80s, records at the company’s website how. This meant that anyone who purchased one should have had the ability to budget for extra drives or other peripherals to suit their needs. The vertical integration of Commodore Business Machines, including ownership of their own chip maker, allowed them to sell this low-cost leader to become the best-selling single computer model of all time.

Personal computers became a home staple


Having access to a computer within reach …….


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