U.K. Firm Bringing Out Small, Low-Priced Microcomputer



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January 31, 1980



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A British electronics company, Sinclair Research, said it is bringing out a microcomputer that measures nine inches by seven inches by two inches thick at its maximum and weighs less than a pound.

More important for many computer addicts, will be the machine’s price of about $220 in the U.S., where it will be marketed by the company’s Boston office in a few months.

The microcomputer is the latest brainchild of Clive Sinclair, a 39-year-old engineer and designer whose Cambridge company has scored more notable achievements in pioneering miniaturized consumer products than in posting profits.

Sinclair brought out tiny calculators almost 10 years ago, when U.S. and Japanese competitors were producing bulkier products. He later made television sets with matchbook-size screen. Both his pocket calculator and mini-TV markets have since been overwhelmed by the competitors.

Sinclair said Sinclair Research’s new microcomputer’s size and price “should expand considerably our market potential in the U.S.” mMst competitive personal computers’ he said, cost more than twice the Sinclair model, which is called ZX80 after the Japanese microprocessor it utilizes. About 20,000 to 30,000 personal computers are sold monthly in the U.S., Sinclair said, though he declined to state any sales targets.

The unit has touch-sensitive spots, rather than a conventional typewriter-style keyboard. It’s plugged into a tv set and utilizes an ordinary cassette tape recorder to store programs.



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