The ZX Spectrum — forty years old

Tuesday 26th April, 2022 - Bruce Sterling


Over five million of the Z80A-based devices were sold, and its impact cannot be overstated. While over 1.5 million BBC Micros (made by Acorn) may have also been sold during its lifetime, it was the ZX Spectrum that found its way into far more homes across Europe, and its impact continues to resonate in the IT world of today.

Raspberry Pi supremo Eben Upton was more on the Acorn side of things, but recalled the effect of the plastic slab: “As a much more affordable alternative to the Beeb, and with roughly 3x the lifetime sales, the Spectrum probably had a greater role in promoting the accidental route into engineering careers in the ’80s and early ’90s.”

“Lots of people here at Pi Towers had their first exposure to programming on Sinclair hardware,” Upton said, “and I personally have a lot of respect for the Sinclair team’s single-minded focus on engineering to a target cost.”…