Home computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies aged 81

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H

ome computer pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair has died aged 81, his family said.

The inventor transformed home computing in this country when he launched his ZX81 and the later ZX Spectrum computers.

The computers, which were relatively cheap and easy to understand, kickstarted a boom in home programming and gaming.

He launched the first affordable consumer computer in 1980, costing less than £100, and the earliest models could even be bought cheaper as kits to be assembled at home.

Sinclair became the first company in the world to sell more than a million computers, making Sir Clive’s surname a household word and spawning an entire industry of magazines, games designers and software and hardware developers.

Games – such as Manic Miner, Elite and Football Manager – became wildly popular and led to a whole generation of British gaming talent striking out in what was then a fledgling industry.

Sir Clive, a former journalist, also branched out making miniature calculators and TVs as well as the C5 – an electric tricycle – and although none of these products reached the commercial heights of his computers they laid the foundations for much of the technology used today.

His death – confirmed to The Guardian by his daughter Belinda – sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media with many fans paying tribute to their first computers.

Others made reference to the rather basic graphics and memory of the early Spectrum computers in a series of affectionate tributes.

His daughter said he died at home in London on Thursday morning after a long illness

She told the Guardian: “He was a rather amazing person. Of course, he was so clever and he was always interested in everything. My daughter and her husband are engineers so he’d be chatting engineering with them.”

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