'Commodore' Revived for Audio Players

Beverly Hills and Dutch-based Yeahronimo Media Ventures announced Wednesday the acquisition of the Commodore brand and plans to resurrect it in the form of two new mobile media devices, the eVic and Mpet II.

The Mpet will be a flash based music player with a built-in FM tuner. The unit will come in two capacities, 256MB and 512MB, and will retail for $139 USD for the 512MB version. No price was given for the smaller unit.

The eVic, whose name is an allusion to Commodore's first personal computer, the VIC-20, is a hard drive based audio player with a capacity of 20GB. The eVic will be able to act as "a photo bank for digital cameras, a data bank for data and music carriers" and "an external hard drive for PC/Mac," according to the company.

"We are immensely thrilled that the newly revived Commodore brand will not only retain its superior market perception of yesteryear, but are confident our first two product offerings will follow suit," Mike J. Freni, Yeahronimo's president, said in a statement. "Never before has a brand and its trademarks come out of hibernation and truly reinvent itself to position competitively in an ever-evolving digital media marketplace."

Both players feature support for CD audio, WAV, MP3, and OGG files. Also supported will be secure WMA files, making the unit compatible with services such as Napster and MSN Music.

The Commodore name has been absent from technology since the dissolution of its Amiga brand in the mid-1990s. After lackluster sales with the rising popularity of Windows-based PCs, the company shut its doors and the name was sold to Tulip Computers NV, a Dutch computer manufacturer, in 1997. Yeahronimo then acquired the rights to the brand from Tulip to release the products under the Commodore name.

The company expects both the Mpet II and eVic to hit retail shelves during the second quarter of this year.

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