British inventor and pioneer of home computing Clive Sinclair died Thursday at the age of 81. Sinclair was primarily known for the ZX Spectrum, but was responsible for many more inventions.
Sinclair’s death was announced on Thursday by his daughter Belinda Sinclair. The Briton had been suffering from cancer for years. She tells the BBC that the pioneer was working on inventions just last week: “He loved that.”
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In the early 1960s, Clive Sinclair started his own company, Sinclair Radionics, after working as a technical journalist for several years. He developed small and inexpensive calculators, including the thin and successful Sinclair Executive.
Later in the 1970s, Sinclair focused on the development of home computers that also had to distinguish themselves with low costs and a compact design. In the early 1980s, the Sinclair ZX80 appeared, which cost less than a hundred pounds in the UK. In 1982, Sinclair Research’s most popular home computer, as the company was now called, the ZX Spectrum, appeared.
The ZX Spectrum sold more than five million times, partly due to its low purchase price. The computer stood out with its rubber chiclet keyboard and striking design by Rick Dickinson. In 2017 the project appeared for the release of a modern variant in the form of the ZX Spectrum Next in which Dickinson was involved, but Sinclair was not involved.
Not all products that Sinclair invented were equally successful. The small Sinclair TV80 Flat Screen Pocket TV was not a success. The electrically powered C5 tricycle that the now founded Sinclair Vehicles released in the mid-1980s was too far ahead of its time and flopped. In later years, the inventor continued to focus on transportation, resulting in the folding Zike e-bike and the lightweight A-bike bicycle, among others.