Commodore 128 and Portable announced at Winter CES - from Compute!, April 1985

The Winter Consumer Electronics Show
New Life In The Home Computer Market
Lance Elko, Editor

Just when the doomsayers were looking like soothsayers, the home computer industry received a terrific boost from the two remaining "low end" manufacturers, Commodore and Atari, at the Winter CES. The new micros of 1985 redefine the market by bridging the gap between "personal" office computers and home computers.

A giant leap forward is what some observers called this year's Winter Consumer Electronics Show. Unlike the trade shows of the past two years, this CES, held January in Las Vegas, showcased some remarkable new personal computer technology.

Industry watchers had been anxiously awaiting new machines.

Surely, it was hoped, Commodore would offer some significant hardware, something more promising than the Plus/4 and the 16. And what of Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore, now head of Atari? Would he deliver? The recent slump had victimized dozens of hardware and software companies, and contributed to the demise of Coleco's Adam. It could not continue.

Driving from the Las Vegas airport into town, it became obvious that this CES would be interesting. Along the way were billboards announcing that we were in "Atari country." And at Commodore's press conference on the opening night, press kits flashing "Bad News for IBM and Apple" were distributed. Despite the tendency towards the pie-in-the-sky advertising hype of many companies in this market, the "bad news" slogans and the swaggering "watch out - we're here" attitude from both Commodore and Atari may not miss the mark by much. The new machines represent a major step in changing the market and in significantly upgrading the way we compute.

Commodore announced two new machines, the 128 Personal Computer - externally expandable to 512K - and the portable Commodore LCD. Although Commodore would not announce prices for the new machines, Frank Leonardi, new vice president of marketing, said that the 128 would probably be less than $300 and the LCD less than $600. Commodore expects to release the 128 in April or May, and the LCD about one month later.

The 128, contrary to earlier reports that it was simply a 64 with an extra 64K of RAM, is being positioned by Commodore as three computers in one: a 64, a 128 with 80-columns and