Personal Computer World
Graciously scanned and sent to Commodore.ca by
The formatting has been replicated as much as possible from the original source including spelling mistakes
COMMODORE’S APPROACH TO COMPUTING
|What Was The Design Philosophy?
Firstly, let me make it clear that this is not a technical paper but an insight into our overall philosophies. Several main concepts were used in designing our PET. These were that it should be AFFORDABLE, CAPABLE, EXPENDABLE, UNDER- STANDABLE, USABLE and SERVICEABLE. Let me explain each of these concepts more fully.Capable
Although ‘popular’ media sometimes talk of PET in terms of game playing, I should make it very clear straight away that PET design parameters were not this but that PET should be just as capable as a traditional computer that up till now would have cost thousands of pounds. The PET was firstly designed to a demanding specification and then we set about deciding how we would get the price right for what we wanted to
We felt that if we could offer a full computer capability at under £1,000 the market for computers would change from one of ‘major company board room decisions on capital equipment’ to a level of personal and departmental decisions that would open up dramatically increased market applications
and potential. If this was so we could write off development costs over many more units and apply some of our mass production and marketing expertise that would make this an economic proposition for us as well as our customers – response so far appears to justify fully this decision,
We designed our PET computer so that it could be
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|upgraded as the heart of an extremely powerful system. For this reason we built in an IEEE-488 output (often known as the H. P-1 B) which allows for multiple intelligent peripherals – we have under development our own printer and floppy disc.
The 8K Ram of the machine is designed to be
expandable in 8K increments up to 32K and these will in the future be offered as optional extras. There is also a parallel user port and a second cassette interface (the second cassette is another optional extra). I 0 is managed by built in operating system software.
We believe all this makes our computer system
We have tried to take some of the mystique out of computers in order to broaden people’s understanding, appreciation and-potential use. For this reason we chose an expanded, fast, comprehensive and powerful 8K Basic which has been built into the machine (part of our 14K Rom) as this is one of the easiest computer languages to learn, understand and use. There is also machine language accessibility for the professionals.
Our PET computer has been designed as a fully integrated and independently operable unit that can be used from the day it is purchased by simply plugging into a standard mains supply. For this reason a 9″ video display, built in cassette and keyboard were designed into PET – PET can be used as an excellent teaching machine and, in its direct mode, is an excellent programmable calculator. (There is even a built in clock for timing applications – settable directly from the Basic via a simple keyboard entry.)Personal
This is perhaps one of the slightly misrepresented
aspects of our PET computer. It does apply to the
|price of the unit, to the fact that it is portable and tothe fact that it can be operated even without any of
the expansion capabilities being added – it certainly does not mean that it cannot be used other than as a personal unit. We know the unique graphics capability makes it a fascinating ‘personal computer’ for the hobbyist programmer but that’s only one aspect of PET.Serviceable
When you open up a PET to look inside you will immediately realise it has been designed for ease of servicing and economic mass production techniques.
The PET consists of only three p.c. boards – the main board which can be snapped out and easily replaced in the event of any defect and the other two boards which are for the CRT circuit and the cassette recorder (specially modified), both of which are removable and replaceable for ease of servicing- and assembly, of course!
The other components are a power supply, CRT and a keyboard. The PET has been designed for the person who wants to use its capabilities and not for the man who wants to poke his soldering iron around at least inside the machine.What Is The Future For Our Pet Computer
As an International Corporation we have already made major investments in this market and our efforts will be continuing in three areas. peripherals, software and marketing. All of which are going to be extremely important.
What About Peripherals?
|of you who can wait, the prices are not likely to be out of proportion to the very reasonable cost of the PET computer itself. We do believe in passing on the benefits of mass production to keep us ahead.
What About Software?
|What About Marketing?
One of the key elements in achieving the breakthrough we have in the price specification ratio is to take a different approach to the market from many traditional computer companies. We do not intend to employ a several hundred strong sales force to wine and dine would-be customers and, if successful, get a commission quite possibly more than the price of our own computer for what in specification is a similar unit. We believe that it is better to pass this saving on to the customer and, if he is as sensible as we happen to believe he is, the PET itself and the owners are going to be the best salesmen we can have – again, initial reaction seems to prove we are right.
However, we do recognise the importance of certain types of marketing which is why we have set up a completely new division of Commodore here in the UK (Commodore Systems). This will handle PET, KIM and allied products under development. Commodore Systems will be a small team of specialists designed to back up and develop the market for an excellent product and not a big sales team to push another ‘me too’ product.
As production and our organisation grows, we intend expanding to a local dealer network to give grassroots support – these will be carefully selected. Meanwhile we are already setting up new offices and a “PET Computer Centre” in Central London (open sometime in April at 360 Euston Road) which we hope users and others interested will visit to evaluate PET, exchange ideas and generally use as a ‘Personal Computer Centre’. We’ll let Personal Computer World know just as soon as we have a moving date fixed.
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