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Like a bad ’90s revival, Compaq is back and making smart TVs

The days of Compaq and Gateway laptops are long gone. But if you have fond memories of buying your first Compaq laptop down at Circuit City, there’s good news. The brand is back — but in a different form.

As noted by Gadgets 360, Ossify Industries, an Indian electronics maker, will soon be reviving the Compaq brand name on its smart TVs. The first Compaq-branded products are expected to come later in 2020, but we don’t know much more about the products at the moment outside of its geographic focus on India.

This isn’t the first time Compaq has experienced a rebirth. In the mid-1990s, Compaq had set what was then the gold standard of computing, pushing out portable Windows 95 notebooks like the Compaq Armada 4160T and multimedia desktop PCs meant for the home and office like Compaq Presario 4122.

The company reached the height of its popularity and financial success in 1998, but started to struggle against cheaper competitors like Dell. In 2002, HP acquired Compaq for $24.2 billion and started selling laptops with the brand name. The merger was big news, but it turned out not to benefit HP all that much. By the mid 2000s, all Compaq products have been rebranded to HP, and most of the former Compaq employees had been laid off. The brand was officially killed off in 2013.

The Compaq Armada 4120 Via ComputingHistory.Org

No one’s heard a peep of the old PC brand since the 2000s. An Argentine company did license the brand for a couple of Presario notebooks for its local market in 2015. HP lives on as one of the few laptop makers to survive the era, with Compaq as a mere footnote in PC history.

The idea of a company playing on any goodwill consumers might still have for the brand has us nostalgic for the simpler days of electronics.

Will a focus on smart TVs bring the Compaq name back to its former glory? Will we see Gateway smartphones or IBM wireless earbuds next? Let’s hope not, but it’s always a fun exercise to see just how far laptops have come in the past fifteen years and which brands managed to win out in the long run.

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