Happy Birthday Amiga 500

Amiga 500 computer system, with 1084S RGB monitor and second A1010 floppy disk drive. [Pic by Bill Bertram]
Amiga 500 computer system, with 1084S RGB monitor and second A1010 floppy disk drive. [Pic by Bill Bertram]
The ever-popular Commodore Amiga 500 home computer, a retro classic, enjoys a birthday of sorts this month, since its launch was announced in January 1987, thirty years ago. However, it did not arrive in European shops until April 1987 (in the Netherlands) and May for the rest of Europe. It did not cross the Atlantic to the USA until October of that year.

The Amiga 500, also known as the A500 (or its code name Rock Lobster), was the first low-end Commodore Amiga 16/32-bit multimedia home/personal computer. It was announced at the winter Consumer Electronics Show, with took place 8-11 January 1987 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, USA, together with the high-end Amiga 2000 – and was intended to compete directly against the Atari 520ST, which had beaten it to market in June 1985.

Before the Amiga 500 was shipped, Commodore suggested a list price of US$595.95 for the A500 without monitor. At US delivery in October 1987, Commodore announced that it would carry a US$699/£499 list price. In the Netherlands, the A500 was available from April 1987 for a list price of 1499 HFL.

The Amiga 500 represented a return to Commodore’s roots by being sold in the same mass retail outlets as the Commodore 64 – to which it was a spiritual successor – as opposed to the computer-store-only original Amiga 1000.

The Amiga 500 eventually proved to be Commodore’s best-selling Amiga model, enjoying particular success in Europe and the UK. Although popular with hobbyists, arguably its most widespread use was as a gaming machine, where its advanced graphics and sound were of significant benefit. Amiga 500 eventually sold 6 million units worldwide.

Picture courtesy Bill Bertram

Main source: Wikipedia

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