Thousands of people who today are committed to programming owe their professions to Sir Clive Sinclair’s home computers, such as the famed ZX Spectrum. At the age of 81, British inventor and entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair has died at his home in London after a lengthy battle with illness. This was confirmed by his daughter, Belinda, on behalf of The Guardian.
Sir Clive Sinclair, the inventor, and entrepreneur behind the iconic Spectrum, has died
He was born in 1940 and devoted his entire life to inventing new ways of integrating electronics into the home. One of his greatest successes was the first pocket calculator, the Sinclair Executive, marketed in 1972; but his idea of miniaturizing all kinds of devices resulted in a multitude of products, such as small transistors and portable televisions, as well as watches with LED technology.
The invention of small, low-cost PCs revolutionized home computing
However, it was in the field of home computing that his many ventures found their greatest success. His firm Sinclair Research was behind the ZX 80 computer, released in 1980 and a little terminal with modest capabilities but an unbeatable price (less than 100 pounds), which revolutionized the entrance of computers in homes, especially on the European continent.
Other computers soon followed, such as the ZX81, but it was with the legendary ZX Spectrum – designed by Richard Altwasser and Rick Dickinson – and its well-remembered rubber keyboard that it broke a sales record and gained a large following. Although it was originally established in the United Kingdom, Sinclair’s company produced popular computers that had a large impact on several other countries, including Canada, Germany, and Australia, which only had 7 colors and a single sound channel at the time.
Despite the fact that its millions of users – it is thought that the ZX Spectrum sold 5 million copies in the United Kingdom alone – were taking their first steps in programming while learning BASIC or loading games onto cassette tape, Sinclair did not cease seeking new and exciting business opportunities.
In addition to marketing improved versions of its range of computers, Sinclair also took a keen interest in electric vehicles. In 1985, he was decades ahead of his time and ended up promoting the C5, a three-wheeled electric vehicle that offered an innovative type of mobility but which was a commercial failure for his firm.
He was knighted by the Queen of England in 1983. The BBC created the TV series Micro Men, which premiered in 2009 and focused on Sir Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry, the creator of another computer of the time, the BBC Micro.