The 264 series of computers are far more interesting than they first appear, unfortunately the story behind them is rather muddled, even Retrogamer this month has an incorrect boxout concerning the C116, saying it was born out of the C16, when in fact it was the other way round.
There were supposed to be three machines released, all much cheaper than computers they were to go up against in the market place, firstly the entry level C116 was originally to retail for $49 to go up against the likes of the Spectrum in Europe, this sort of happened, although it only had 50.000 odd machines released.
The C232 and C264 were the middle machines, these look like the plus 4, obviously one with 32K of Ram the second with 64K, the former was ditched very quickly, the second became the Plus 4, again these had the purpose of providing a cheap alternative to the likes of the TI99 4/A.
Then the top of the range model was the V364, which was a much larger machine, like a plus 4 but with a numerical keypad on the side, only one production prototype was ever finished, and two more, with far more brittle cases exist, there is also a demonstration video on you tube of a board in action, complete with voice synthesis, hence the V in the name, the machine was scrapped, and the Plus 4 and C16 were the only machines carried forward.
The range was a victim of marketing people, after Jack Tramiel was ousted from Commodore, they did not have a clue what to do with the computers, eventually deciding to ditch the C116, then putting a ridiculously expensive price tag on the Plus 4 ($349 instead of the intended $149), shoehorning unwanted and out of date software into it, then finally created what Bil Herd describes as 'an abomination, an inbred machine' in the form of the C16, which was merely a C64 case in black with a C116 board with a couple of tweaks rattling round in it, also the expected influx of cheap machines from Japan never happened, and Timex and Texas Instruments were leaving the market, meaning there was little use for the machines.
There are two brilliant reads from one of the creators Bil Herd here, describing what went wrong with the line.
http://hackaday.com/2014/09/02/30-years ... ry-part-i/
http://hackaday.com/2014/09/15/30-years ... y-part-ii/
It is often reported that the machines were a disaster sales wise, this is debatable, the C16 sold very respectable numbers in Europe, although it was often heavily discounted, I doubt Mastertronic would have produced 53 titles for the machine if it was not selling, and the Plus 4 did very well in eastern Europe, where to this day the homebrew scene is very healthy indeed, especially in Hungary, many of the finest C64 games have been converted to the computer, and often run a bit faster, and certainly with more colour, Sabre Wulf springs to mind here.
It is true the owners of these machines, myself included do have great affection for them, one of my most prized possessions is a C116, in pristine, fully working condition.
A new feature with the input of the design team would be most welcome, with more emphasis on what the machines were supposed to bring to the Commodore range, and what happens when marketing people interfere.