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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Sinclair Research
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company 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
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(expandable to 48K) ZX Spectrum in 1982 (then superseded by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
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.