We have sadly noticed the passing of Sir Clive Sinclair, a British writer, engineer, home computer pioneer and entrepreneur, He passed away this morning at the age of 81 After a long illness. He may be best known among Hackaday readers as the ZX series of home computers in the 1980s, but in his lifetime in the technology industry, he has not touched several corners of consumer electronics in some way.
Sinclair started his career as a technical journalist and writer in the 1950s, and then founded the electronics company Sinclair Radionics in the 1960s. His early products were a hybrid of miniature transistor radios and Hi-Fi components, which set the tone for other miniature devices for decades, including early LED digital watches in the early 1970s, and miniature CRT TVs in the 1970s and 1970s. , And another miniature in-ear FM radio that was launched in the 1990s.
In the early 1970s, he achieved a more miniaturized world of emerging mass market calculators by using button batteries instead of bulky dry batteries, and then reprogrammed more ordinary calculator chips with great skill. As calculators became commoditized, his inevitable next step was to enter the world of computing, which from the very beginning led to the very successful ZX series of machines, among which the ZX Spectrum in 1982 became one of the most popular British computers of all time. one. These machines cleverly use Uncommitted Logic Array chips to reduce their device count. Although they lack the advanced features of more expensive competitors, their price of less than £100 makes them an easy choice for cash-conscious parents. There are a series of Sinclair peripherals, including small tape storage devices, and a huge third-party hardware and software ecosystem.
In the 1980s, the computer business got into trouble and was sold to rival Alan Sugar’s Amstrad, although the continuity of Sinclair’s invention has not faded. His C5 electric car failed commercially, but it led him to produce a series of electric bicycle add-on products in the 1990s, thus preventing the boom of electric bicycles today for decades. However, he hasn’t fully grasped the computer yet, because his Cambridge Z88 in 1987 is an LCD portable computer, powered by AA batteries, and provides useful office facilities on the road.
In addition to a series of technical products that are always interesting but sometimes under-designed, Sir Clive’s true legacy lies in the generations who have benefited from his work. Whether he introduced them to electronic products through writing in the 1960s, or introduced them to computers through the magic of Sinclair Basic in the 1980s, he directly transformed the impossibility of science fiction into affordable Christmas gifts. In the UK and other countries, there are a large number of engineers and software developers whose first computer experience bears the Sinclair logo and understands the memory mapping of the ZX method. For us, Sir Clive’s company and products have provided a career and lifelong interest, and few others have such a lasting impact on us. Clive Sinclair, thank you!
Header: Mark Sanders CC BY-SA 4.0.