The Evolution of the Form Factor – Is Cotton Candy the New Commodore 64?
Now is a time to reflect upon on the form factor of the personal computer. Computer legend and gaming pioneer Jack Tramiel died last month at the age of 83.
Jack was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries. In a recent Forbes article, Martin Goldberg, video game and computer history book author said, “Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries. A name once uttered in the same vein as Steve Jobs is today.”
Jack’s company Commodore developed and sold, in 1980s thorough out the 1990s, the Commodore 64 computer, which today still stands as the highest selling single computer of all time. It was truly a “computer for the masses,” added Goldberg.
At its peak when Commodore 64 was the leading computer, it also had form factor on it’s side. Unlike the old PC’s, you could actually take Commodore 64 with you when visiting a friend’s house and enjoy playing the most advanced games – together. The carry on packaging wasn’t easy though -you had to bring the powersupply, disc drive, gaming controls, cables and discs. It took some effort however the reward was to play your games, with your friends on their TV. Some could say Commodore 64 was actually the ‘any screen’ computer of its time.
Then came the laptops, mobile phones, tablets etc. All of them are solid performing portable computers with a fixed screen size. Whereas desktop PCs remained as something largely kept stationary, with most hoping to never have to again lug the pile of equipment from room to room or place to place.
For 20 years we have been carrying a screen with our computer. It has been so long that we actually have become used to it – a screen that easily breaks, a screen that loses it’s colors and brightness, a screen that becomes obsolete, a screen that is the most expensive single component in a computer, a screen that is extra weight and a screen that often dictates the usability and capability of the device itself.
One might ask if that screen is really necessary? Why can’t we just shrink the Commodore 64 equivalent into a modern world version and use that instead?
Oh wait, we did! Now with the FXI Cotton Candy any screen computer this is happening, and much, much more…
By removing the screen from the computer, we can take the computer to any screen – one might say, we have brought the portable form factor back to computing.
Any screen. Any app. Any OS. Any input device. Any place. Any time.