Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor

Definition of Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor

The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor (PET) is an early series of personal computers developed by Commodore International in the late 1970s. These machines featured an all-in-one design, combining a monitor, keyboard, and cassette drive. The PET was successful in the educational market and played a significant role in the early development of personal computing.


The phonetics of the keyword “Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor” are:K-ɒ-m-ə-d-ɔː-r ˈp-ɜː-r-s-ə-n-ə-l ˌɛ-l-ɛ-k-ˈt-r-ɒ-n-ɪ-k ˈt-r-æ-nˌs-æ-k-t-ə-rHere’s each word broken down phonetically:Commodore – /ˈkɒm.ə.dɔːr/Personal – /ˈpɜː.sə.nəl/Electronic – /ɪˌlɛkˈtrɒn.ɪk/Transactor – /ˈtrænˌsæktər/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was an early personal computer introduced in 1977, marking a significant milestone in the development of home computing.
  2. Featuring a built-in monochrome monitor, keyboard, and cassette tape drive, the Commodore PET was an all-in-one unit that offered 4KB to 96KB of RAM, making it an appealing choice for both educational and small-business use.
  3. Despite its success and impact on the PC industry, the Commodore PET was eventually replaced by the VIC-20 and Commodore 64, which were more popular due to their improved graphics, sound capabilities, and affordability.

Importance of Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor

The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor (PET) is significant in the history of technology because it was one of the first widely successful personal computers introduced in 1977.

As a pioneer in the early computing industry, the PET series featured an all-in-one design, combining a processor, keyboard, monitor, and data storage in a single unit.

It enabled consumers and small businesses to access and utilize computing facilities at an affordable price, previously limited to large corporations and government institutions.

The PET played a crucial role in setting the stage for the personal computer revolution, paving the way for the development of more advanced and user-friendly machines from companies such as Apple, IBM, and Microsoft in subsequent years.


The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor, or PET for short, was an early pioneer in the realm of personal computers, aiming to bring the power of computing into households and small businesses. Launched in 1977 by Commodore International, the PET served as a practical, affordable, and accessible device that enabled a wide range of users to perform various tasks that were previously limited to large-scale computers.

Its purpose was to revolutionize the way people conducted work and leisure activities, from computing calculations and managing inventories to using specialized software for learning and entertainment purposes. What set the PET apart from its competitors was its user-friendly design and all-in-one capabilities.

It featured a built-in monochrome monitor, keyboard, and cassette tape storage, making the device a complete computing system that did not require any additional peripherals. From its inception, the PET found its way into various sectors, particularly in schools, where it was employed for educational purposes, and businesses, where it was used as an essential tool for enhancing productivity and efficiency.

The innovative spirit behind the Commodore PET played a crucial role in shaping the burgeoning personal computer industry and laid the foundation for the accessible, multi-purpose computing devices that are prevalent in today’s digital world.

Examples of Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor

The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor, or PET, was an early personal computer developed by Commodore International in the late 1970s. This groundbreaking technology greatly influenced the computer industry and was used in various real-world applications.

Education: Many educational institutions adopted the PET as a valuable teaching and learning tool. Schools and colleges used the PET to teach students programming languages such as BASIC (which was built-in). Teachers incorporated the PET to instruct computer science courses, and students used it to develop fundamental programming skills. Additionally, it supported educational software which provided engaging lessons for subjects like mathematics, history, and science.

Small Business and Home Office Use: Small business owners and home office users took advantage of the Commodore PET’s affordability and versatility. They used it for various tasks, including word processing, accounting, and inventory management. Simple applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and databases were available on the platform, helping individuals improve their efficiency and manage their work more effectively.

Gaming and Entertainment: Although the PET was not specifically designed for gaming, it did inspire early computer games and hobbyist programming. Many developers, like Jeff Minter, creator of the popular game Gridrunner, started their careers by creating software and simple games for the Commodore PET. The PET laid the groundwork for later successful home computers like the Commodore 64, which featured advanced gaming capabilities and helped bring computer gaming to a broader audience.

FAQ – Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor

What is the Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor (PET)?

The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor (PET) is an early personal computer introduced by the Commodore International Corporation in 1977. It is considered one of the first all-in-one personal computers featuring a built-in display, keyboard, and tape drive.

What are the key features of the Commodore PET?

Key features of the Commodore PET include 4K or 8K RAM options, a built-in display with a 40 x 25-character screen, an integrated keyboard and tape drive for data storage, and the MOS Technology 6502 processor. It runs on the Commodore BASIC operating system.

What type of programming languages does the Commodore PET support?

The primary programming language supported by the Commodore PET is the Commodore BASIC, developed by Microsoft. It allows users to create programs ranging from simple calculator applications to more complex games and software.

How can I store data on the Commodore PET?

You can store data on the Commodore PET using its built-in tape drive, which uses standard audio cassette tapes for storage. The data is saved through audio tones, with each program stored as a separate “file” on the tape.

Can I connect the Commodore PET to other devices?

Yes, the Commodore PET has an IEEE-488 interface that allows it to connect to various peripherals, such as disk drives, printers, and modems. Additionally, you can expand its capabilities by installing additional hardware through the expansion port at the back of the computer.

Why is the Commodore PET significant in computer history?

The Commodore PET is significant because it was one of the first affordable, all-in-one personal computers available to consumers. Along with the Apple II and the Tandy TRS-80, it helped spark the personal computer revolution and set the stage for the growth and development of the personal computing industry.

Related Technology Terms

  • 8-bit home computer
  • MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor
  • Commodore 64 (C64)
  • Commodore BASIC programming language
  • Commodore VIC-20

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