Sinclair ZX Spectrum Launched
The 20th of April 1982 AD
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a breakthrough in consumer-oriented computing. With rubber keys and just 16KB of RAM and the same ROM (hard to believe children, but in the olden days we used computers with less memory than a single digital photo uses now), it was somewhat basic, though it could be upgraded to a staggering 48KB of RAM if you paid extra. But the Spectrum was as far as British users were concerned probably the machine that took computing from the laboratory and university and gave it to the people. It may have had sound that was produced by a beeper and colour that for technical reasons could be quirky, and its keyboard with Basic programming language commands was far from ideal, but it sparked ideas, its limited memory more a stimulus to creativity than an obstacle for games-designers in particular.
Sir Clive Sinclair (later responsible for the weird and wonderful Sinclair C5 , a three-wheel electronic vehicle in advance of its time albeit with major drawbacks to its use) headed Sinclair Research, a Cambridge company which developed and marketed the Spectrum ZX. He had previously popularised the pocket-calculator in the early 1970s in Britain. At £125 for the entry-level version the Spectrum sold well, but inevitably it was quickly overtaken by technically superior devices from producers with deeper pockets to fund R&D and marketing.
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