The Amiga is a family of personal computers marketed by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities. The Amiga provided a significant upgrade from 8-bit computers, such as the Commodore 64, and the platform quickly grew in popularity among computer enthusiasts. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became the leading home computer of the late 1980s and early 1990s in much of Western Europe. In North America success was more modest. The Amiga went on to sell approximately six million units. Second generation Amiga systems (the A1200 and the A4000) were released in 1992. However, poor marketing and failure to repeat the technological advances of the first systems meant that the Amiga quickly lost its market share to competing platforms, such as the fourth generation game consoles, Apple Macintosh and IBM PC compatibles.
Based on the Motorola 68000 family of microprocessors, the machine sports a custom chipset with graphics and sound capabilities that were unprecedented for the price, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.
Although early Commodore advertisements attempted to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer, with a wide range of games and creative software. It was also a less expensive alternative to the Apple Macintosh and IBM PC as a general-purpose business or home computer. The platform became particularly popular for gaming and demos. It also found a prominent role in the desktop video, video production, and show control business, leading to affordable video editing systems such as the Video Toaster. The Amiga's native ability to simultaneously play back multiple digital sound samples made it a popular platform for early "tracker" music software. The relatively powerful processor and ability to access several megabytes of memory led to the development of several 3D rendering packages, including LightWave 3D and Aladdin 4D.
Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line, including Genesi, Eyetech, ACube Systems and A-EON Technology, and AmigaOS has influenced replacements, clones and compatible systems such as MorphOS, AmigaOS 4 and AROS.