A giant in the field of affordable computing has passed away. Thursday the 16th of September, it became known that Clive Sinclair of ZX Spectrum fame had died after a longer period of illness. His inventions stretches far and wide, with watches, home computers, electric vehicles and other contributions to consumer electronics.
A lot of us know him for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum series of home computers, but there are quite a lot of other inventions that should be mentioned as well (and probably some I'm forgetting here):
- The first pocket calculator
- One of the first affordable complete home computers, the ZX80 (we are talking really affordable here!! Most consumers could not afford a Commodore PET or an Apple II)
- The Black Watch
- ZX Spectrum series of computers (also affordable home computers, and not just one model!)
- The Z88 pocket computer
- Sinclair C5, electric tricycle
For many, especially in Europe, Clive Sinclair is considered the father of home computing. The computers made by his company was not just the most affordable, but one of the first available in the continent for hobbyists. I would probably give him this shared honor together with Chuck Peddle (who was one of the main people behind the MOS Technology 6502 processor, as well as the Commodore PET). It is said that, according to the book Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall, Jack Tamriel (CEO and founder of Commodore Business Machines) was really inspired by the ZX80. This lead to him pushing for the development of more affordable computers at Commodore Business Machines, which lead to the much loved competitors to the ZX Spectrum: The Commodore VIC20 and the Commodore 64. In that regard, we can say that Clive Sinclair was not just the father of the loved ZX series of computers (which many programmers I know grew up with!), but also inspired many others to create affordable computers! (let us also not forget the modern version called Raspberry Pi here! It can probably be assumed that Sir Sinclair got some inspiration from the earlier more expensive computers like the Apple II and Commodore PET as well)
(Trivia: Why was all the computer called ZX something? It was because they used the Zilog Z80 processor, as well as something extra, which the X is a reference to)
Thank you Clive Sinclair for your amazing contributions! You will be remembered as one of the fathers of home computers, and an amazing inventor and entrepreneur.
There are several articles in British media (ref: The Guardian and Hamhigh Times) about his death, and many of them chronicle his amazing life and contributions. Feel free to share more in the comments below, as well as your stories of ZX Spectrum love or other things you want to mention!