Timex announced that it would market the Timex Sinclair 1000, the first computer to break the $100 price barrier, on April 20, 1982.

Launched a few months later in July 1982, the Timex/Sinclair 1000 was a modest improvement over the Sinclair ZX81, upgrading RAM from 1K to 2K.

Timex ran numerous TV and print ads that September which provided a toll-free number for more information. Response was so enthusiastic that, at one point, Timex operators were receiving 5,200 calls per hour, 50,000 a week, inquiring about the machine or about microcomputers in general.

By November, Timex’s manufacturing facilities were producing one computer every ten seconds and production had still not caught up to demand. In addition to the Timex plant in Dundee, Scotland, Timex opened two new factories in the US.

BASIC and Expansion

The TS1000 featured the same Sinclair BASIC as the ZX81; all the software, hardware and accessories that worked on the ZX81 also worked on the TS1000.


Despite the prior exposure of the ZX81, the TS1000 received an enthusiastic reception in even wider computing and popular publications.

In part, this was evidence of Timex’s more significant marketing effort. It can also be attributed to a booming home computer market, where new products were announced almost every day.
Electronic Fun with Computer & Games printed a review that was effusive and sober (its “restrictions make is a superior program training tool, allowing you to learn, not just do”) and resource guide.

According to Dan Ross, vice-president of computer products, “600 and 700 companies offering add-ons for the computer [had] sprung up” by November 1982.

Moving past reviewing just the computers, the computer press began reviewing software, hardware and books for the Sinclair computers in earnest.


The TS1000 sparked a massive surge of interest when it was launched in July 1982.

Timex, despite having no experience marketing computers, did have experience selling consumer products in retail. When they entered the market, they had access to 171,000 retail locations that already sold their products.

Consumers suddenly had the option to buy computers from places they already knew and trusted, from department stores and chains like K-Mart to computer stores, consumer electronics, jewelry and drug stores.

K-Mart alone had more than 1,100 stores selling home computers. And, Timex offered large retailers like K-Mart a standalone kiosk to push sales of the computer.

Furthermore, they hired experience marketing staff like Margot Murphy to the subsidiary, Timex Computer Corporation, ensure a successful launch. Murphy oversaw design and production of the product packaging and marketing materials and gathered consumer market research, even visiting individual retail locations to see and hear how customers experienced the product.

Timex’s marketing prowess paid off handsomely: in the five months following the TS1000’s launch, the company sold 550,000 machines.

According to Future Computing, a computer research firm, Timex sold 20 percent of all home computers purchased in 1982.

Timex was also incentivized by its deal with Sinclair, who allowed them to sell up to 900,000 units royalty-free.


  • Composite video output mods – Ben at ByteDelight covers how to modify your 1000/ZX81 for composite video output.
  • ZX8-CCB composite video mod – this mod is quite good, adds the missing “back porch” and works well with LCD monitors. It’s what I have on my 1000.
  • ZXpand – Adds 32K RAM, AY-3-8910, SD card, serial, joystick and high res graphics, all in one.
  • ZX-Key – External keyboard, full-size key switches and caps.



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