The name Amiga was chosen by the developers from the Spanish word for a female friend, because they knew Spanish and because it occurred before Apple and Atari alphabetically. It also conveyed the message that the Amiga computer line was "user friendly" as a pun or play on words.
The Amiga is a family of personal computers sold by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. Based on the Motorola 68000 family of microprocessors, the machine has a custom chipset with graphics and sound capabilities that were unprecedented for the price, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.
The Amiga 1000 was officially released in July 1985, but a series of production problems meant it did not become widely available until early 1986. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became one of the leading home computers of the late 1980s and early 1990s with four to six million sold. The A3000, introduced in 1990, started the second generation of Amiga systems, followed by the A500+ and the A600. Finally, as the third generation, the A1200 and the A4000 were released in 1992. The platform became particularly popular for gaming and programming 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, Imagine, Aladdin4D, and TurboSilver.
Although early Commodore advertisements attempt to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, especially when outfitted with the Amiga Sidecar PC compatibility addon, 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. Initially, the Amiga was developed alongside various Commodore PC clones, but Commodore later left the PC market. Poor marketing and the failure of the later models 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 later IBM PC compatibles. Commodore ultimately went bankrupt in April 1994 after the "make or break" Amiga CD32 model failed in the marketplace.
Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line, including Genesi, Eyetech, ACube Systems Srl and A-EON Technology. Likewise, AmigaOS has influenced replacements, clones and compatible systems such as MorphOS, AmigaOS 4 and AROS. The demise of Commodore has been commonly attributed to numerous factors such as poor marketing, a lack of sufficient third party developers, and a failure to compete with cheaper PC clones with "multimedia" features and low-cost color-capable Macintosh models such as the Macintosh LC.