|Sinclair Research||computing dictionary|
A British microelectronics developer and manufacturer. Evolving from Sinclair Radionics in 1979, Sinclair Research was owned by Sir Clive Sinclair. Sinclair Radionics produced electronic components and devices (such as calculators and pocket radios and televisions), but Sinclair Research began by producing some of the first 8-bit home microcomputers.
Sinclair produced five microcomputers from 1980 to 1987, all based on the Zilog Z80 microprocessor (except for the QL, which used the Motorola 68008 - a variant on the 68000). The 1K kit-build ZX80, introduced in 1980, was followed by the 1K ZX81 (expandable to 16K) in 1981, the 16K (expandable to 48K) ZX Spectrum in 1982 (then superseded by two distinct 48K models and a 128K model in 1986) and the QL (Quantum Leap) in 1984. A portable laptop computer, the Z88, was released in 1987 under the Cambridge Computers banner.
Of them all, the ZX Spectrum was the best known, and it went on to become the most popular microcomputer of its time in the United Kingdom and in many other territories. This was partly due to its ease of use, and also due to its enormous software catalogue, covering games, word processing, music, programming and graphics. Glorious "mine's-better-than-yours" battles were fought (and still are today) between owners of Spectrums and Commodore 64s over who had the best machine.
Sir Clive's financial problems in the mid-80s led him to sell the rights to the Sinclair brand to Amstrad in April 1986. This led to further models of the Spectrum being released from 1986 to 1988 and also an IBM PC-compatible based internally on Amstrad's own PC range. Sir Clive was not involved with the production of these computers, and no computer with the Sinclair name has been produced since.
(01 Apr 1998)
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