Sun Sep 19 2021
The home computing pioneer leaves behind a legacy that inspired millions to seek a career in the tech sector
Sir Clive Sinclair, inventor of the pocket calculator, the ZX series of home computers and the Sinclair C5 has sadly passed away at the age of 81 after a long battle with cancer.
Sir Clive’s name has been synonymous with the computing industry for decades, inspiring several generations of children to seek careers in the tech sector.
He first came to prominence in 1972 when his company, Sinclair Radionics released the worlds first pocket calculator, named the Sinclair Executive.
However it wasn’t till the ‘80’s that he became a household name with his series of ZX home computers which were massively more affordable than anything else on the market at the time… being snapped up by professionals, amateurs, hobbyists and the first generation of computer gamers.
His first home computer, the ZX80 was launched in 1980 and was priced at just £79.95 unassembled or you could buy it assembled for £99.95.
It’s ease of use and low price made it an instant hit but it’s replacement, the ZX81 was even more popular, selling over 1.5 million units globally.
It was the ZX81 that’s thought to have launched the career of thousands of IT budding IT experts and games designers, giving many their first taste of a home computing system.
There were thousands of games designed for the ZX81 many of which are still being played on emulators today (or on the original ZX81 depending on the level of your geek credentials).
Sir Clive was born in Surrey in 1940, leaving school at 18 after doing very well in mathematics. His first job was selling electronic kits by mail order.
Sinclair Radionics was founded in 1961 whilst he was also working as an editor for a technical magazine.
Fascinated by the possibilities of miniaturisation and simplification, the company created many different devices before finding successes with the ZX Spectrum.
He was knighted in 1983 for his contributions to the electronics sector.
In his later years he became very critical of how computer coding was being taught in schools.
We've certainly gone backwards. In the 1980s, Britain was the world leader in coding for children, and the government should have put computing on the school syllabus then, not wait decades to do it. I feel very sad that it happened that way. We could now still be a world leader, but many other countries have embraced coding and IT in their education systems considerably more than we have done.
Sir Clive Sinclair is survived by three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren… all of whom we’d like to express our deepest condolences to. Whilst he could never mean to us what we’re sure he means to you, he was an inspiration to many at cloudThings lives and we’re all devastated to learn of his passing.
Sun Sep 19 2021