First post, by ThinkpadIL
While considering to add to my collection legends like Commodore 64 and/or ZX Spectrum, I always have a feeling that they were actually more a toy for kids than a real personal computer for home use.
I didn't own any of them and the first computer I met in person was IBM PC AT 286, so after it all those Commodores and Spectrums class computers looked like a silly toy. Maybe that's why I have the same feeling also today.
So what do you think? A toy or a personal computer for the masses?
10 May 2022 UPD
Ok, I think the time has come to make a conclusion (at least to myself).
After hearing pros and cons here and making a research on the Internet my conclusion is as follows:
Home Computers of the late 70's, 80's and early 90's were mostly 8-bit machines. If first 8-bit computers were mostly experimental machines that could be compared to Raspberry Pi based projects of today, very fast they developed into two main lines - Business Computers (for example Osborne 1, Kaypro II, Epson QX-10 etc.) and Home Computers (for example Atari 400/800, ZX-80/81/Spectrum, Commodore 64/128 etc.).
Business Computers in most cases were coming with CP/M operating system, monochrome display and from the start were intended to be used for boring office activities only. Home Computers on the other hand from the start were intended to be used at home for two main activities - learning programming in Basic and gaming.
Later there were attempts to enter business market with modified Home Computers. Some of the attempts were successful (for example TRS-80 Model I --> TRS-80 Model III) and some were fails (for example Commodore 64 --> Commodore SX-64). There were also attempts to go in opposite direction (for example IBM PC --> IBM PCjr) though those were already a next generation 16-bit machines. During those attempts were developed few hardware and software add-ons which supposed to make Home Computer machines to look like a serious machine. For example for Commodore 64 was developed GEOS package, CP/M cartridge, Commodore 1351 mouse ets. Those attempts helped Commodore 64 to become some kind of Personal Computer for home use that was able to do almost anything, from word processing and spreadsheets to math calculations, music composing, BBS communication and commercial software development (games mostly). Though it was mostly suitable for students and freelancers, since there are not so many evidences of making use of Commodore 64 machines in offices.
Who knows, if there wasn't such thing as a technical progress, maybe in couple of decades Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum would become serious machines suitable for business use too, but the 90's have arrived and prices for 16-bit and 32-bit IBM PC compatible Business Machines started dropping and dropping fast. So, in 1995 most of the ordinary people could afford that kind or another of an IBM PC compatible machine and the glorious history of Home Computers like Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum ended instantly. End of story.