The colorful entrepreneur helped…

The colorful entrepreneur helped introduce a generation to home computers….

Clive Sinclair, founder and chairman of Sinclair Research, at the launch of the Sinclair 2-inch pocket television

Clive Sinclair, founder and chairman of Sinclair Research, at the launch of the Sinclair 2-inch pocket television.

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Sir Clive Sinclair, a home computing pioneer who pioneered the pocket calculator and created the iconic ZX Spectrum, has died at the age of 81.

Sinclair passed away Thursday at home in London, UK. Despite having cancer for more than a decade, his daughter Belinda Sinclair told the BBC he was still tinkering with inventions until the end. 

Born in 1940 to a family of shipbuilders, Sinclair was an entrepreneur and colorful figure well known for hits like the ZX Spectrum, and the occasional flawed but fascinating flop, like the overly-delicate Black Watch wristwatch or infamous Sinclair C5 battery-powered electric trike.

In the early 1970s he developed the affordable Sinclair Cambridge pocket calculator, a portable electronic calculator that could be bought as a kit or fully assembled. Beginning with the ZX80 in 1980, he released a series of home computers that were substantially more affordable than rivals, helping bring computers into homes. In the age of Amstrad and the Commodore 64, Spectrum sold hundreds of thousands. The color model ZX Spectrum 48K inspired a generation to lay the foundations of the British gaming industry with titles like Jet Set Willy, Horace Goes Skiing, Chuckie Egg, and Saboteur.

Technology luminaries and computing fans including Elon Musk, Brian Cox and Edgar Wright have paid tribute to this influential and much-loved figure.

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