Unbelievably in these days of high tech phones and computers, it is hard to believe that the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was launched 30 years ago today on 23 April 1982
At its launch it was leading edge and was the succesor to the Sinclair ZX81 that many schoolboy and adult enthusiast cut their first teeth in the world of programming, with the bonus of colour graphics and sound. I wonder how many of the people now in the industry now were amongst those pioneers using the Spectrum.
The Spectrum was offered with a choice of 16KB or 48KB Ram. The former, intended as the budget choice, was priced at £125; the 48KB Spectrum was £175 which was when set alongside the £399 32KB BBC Micro Model B, launched the previous December. ( relatively in todays values this translates as approximately £375 and £525 with £1200 for the BBC Micro )
The Spectrum was initially offered a 32 x 24 grid of alphanumerical and block-graphic characters or a 256 × 192 pixel screen for graphics, with dots and characters that could be black or any of seven colours – blue, red, purple, green, cyan, yellow and white – each set to one of two possible brightness values – giving 15 shades in all.
The computers were assembled at Timex’s Dundee ( Scotland ) plant, and there were backlog problems during 1982 summer due to holiday periods although they would ship over 500,000 units in 1982. Later on the infamous Microdrive units were shipped as an add-on for external storage – a simple loop tape cassette system that plugged into the Microdrive unit
The Spectrum continued until 1986 when the competition from Amstrad and the CPC-64 and many other small companies saw the demise of the Spectrum finally in 1990 and ushered in the PC as we now know it.