Home computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair passes at age 81 #VintageComputing
Sir Clive Sinclair, the inventor and entrepreneur who was instrumental in bringing home computers to the masses, has passed away today at the age of 81.
Sinclair invented the pocket calculator but was best known for popularizing the home computer, bringing it to British high-street stores at relatively affordable prices.
Many modern-day titans of the games industry got their start on one of his ZX models.
His first home computer, the ZX80, named after the year it appeared, revolutionized the market, although it was a far cry from today’s models. At £79.95 in kit form and £99.95 assembled, it was about one-fifth of the price of other home computers at the time. It sold 50,000, units while its successor, the ZX81, which replaced it, cost £69.95 and sold 250,000.
Many games industry veterans got their start typing programs into its touch-based keyboard and became hooked on games such as as 3D Monster Maze and Mazogs. The ZX80 and ZX81 made him very rich: in 2010 Sinclair told the Guardian: “Within two or three years, we made £14m profit in a year.”
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