Commodore Makes Comeback with Mpet II
By Ed Oswald
Most of us who have been around technology for the better part of the last two decades will remember the name Commodore. Commodore computers were the best selling PCs of the 1980s. However, as Microsoft took center stage, the company faded away, eventually being bought by Dutch company Tulip Computers after filing for bankruptcy in 1994.
Enter a U.S. firm called Yeahronimo Media Ventures, a company which specializes in electronic entertainment. The group said last year that it planned to take the Commodore brand and make it “a worldwide entertainment concept,” and the Mpet II is the first item to be shipped with that goal in mind.
The Mpet is a Flash memory-based MP3 player that comes in two sizes, 256MB and 512MB, retailing for $99 and $139, respectively. After the announcement of the player’s launch earlier this year, BetaNews decided to see exactly what Yeahronimo had in mind for the Commodore brand.
The packaging is pretty simple, and includes the Mpet II, a pair of headphones, a lanyard, and a supplied AA battery. The player itself is very utilitarian; it does remind you of the design of the old Commodore machines. However, it works and fits nicely in the hand. ..
What I was very impressed with is the screen. Although for some visually impaired the smaller text may be tough to read, it actually is surprisingly useful compared with other small MP3 players. The uselessness of a small screen is the main reason why Apple’s iPod Shuffle came without one, but Commodore has actually made it useful enough that the size doesn’t become a problem.
What really sets this unit apart, and what I think will be an overall net positive for most potential buyers, is the Mpet II’s feature set. For $139, you get a 512MB audio player that is compliant with Microsoft’s WMA DRM (not Napster-to-Go or “Janus” DRM, but all other services), an FM tuner, and a voice recorder. For the voice recorder feature you have the option to use an external microphone.