The British businessman and one of the fathers of modern computing, Sir Clive Sinclair, died this Thursday at the age of 81 at his home in London, after suffering a long disease. It was confirmed by his daughter, Belinda, to The Guardian.
Sinclair was the creator of some of the first personal computers (PCs) that first arrived in homes throughout the 1980s, with the ZX Spectrum at the head as the most remembered by all.
Born in 1940, this British inventor and businessman dedicated his entire life to devising innovative ways to introduce electronics in the home. One of his greatest successes is the first pocket calculatorBut his idea of miniaturizing devices resulted in a multitude of products, such as small transistors and portable televisions, as well as watches with LCD technology.
However, it was in the realm of home computing that his many companies found their greatest success. With the idea of offering an inexpensive computer for the general public (In an age when computers weren’t home but business, huge and very bulky), his company Sinclair Research was responsible for the ZX 80.
Launched in 1980, a tiny device humble in specs, but with an unbeatable price (less than 100 pounds) that revolutionized the arrival of computers in homes, especially in Europe.
Spectrum models, key in modern computing
ZX Spectrum. Photo Wikimedia Commons
Soon after other models arrived, such as the ZX81, but it was with the famous ZX Spectrum – designed by Richard Altwasser and Rick Dickinson – and its well-remembered rubber keyboard, that it achieved a milestone in terms of sales and popularity. They used cassettes to load information, not floppy disks.
Although its main market was the British, the computers produced by Clive Sinclair’s company had great success in many other countries, including Spain, where with only 7 colors and a single sound channel managed to carve out an important niche.
While its millions of users – it is estimated that the ZX Spectrum sold 5 million units– taking their first steps in programming while learning BASIC or loading games on cassette, Sinclair kept looking for promising new business horizons.
The first ZX Spectrum had only 16 kbytes of main memory and needed to work in tandem with a monophonic cassette to load the games and programs stored on the same tapes that music was distributed on at the time Sinclair put the first on the market. version of his ZX Spectrum in 1982.
That computer had only 16 kbytes of main memory and he needed to work in tandem with a monophonic cassette to load the games and programs stored on the same tapes on which music was distributed at that time.
In addition to marketing improved versions of the computer, he was also decades ahead of time in the mid-1980s to launch the C5, a three-wheeled electric vehicle that was a financial hit for his company.
“He was quite an amazing person. He was so smart and he was always interested in everything. My daughter and son-in-law are engineers, and I used to talk engineering with them, “recalled her daughter Belinda when she broke the news.
Clive Sinclair was 81 years old. Photo La Vanguardia