I agree, too, and would expect pretty much everyone on this site to agree. But believing that the ZX81 and Spectrum had a huge impact is not the same as believing Clive Sinclair deserves the credit for them or that his other disasters should be ignored.Alessandro wrote: ↑Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:28 pmThe number of people which made their first steps into information technology, from simple amateurs like myself, to professional programmers, aided by Sinclair's most popular computer is presumably very high. I believe this is the most important legacy of Sinclair's involvement in the home computer industry to this day.
At least some of the credit for the ZX81 and Spectrum should go to Richard Altwasser, Steve Vickers, Rick Dickinson, Jim Westwood, Nigel Searle, etc. It's fair also to give Clive Sinclair credit; he clearly must have also been involved. But was the genius of the ZX81 and Spectrum in the strategic decisions (where I think we can assume Clive Sinclair was heavily involved) or the specific designs (where he was less likely to have been)? I think the latter: the ZX series of computers were great pieces of minimal design, but they really weren't the only home computers. In the early 1980s, the UK market was awash with competing home computer designs (even including the terrible Jupiter Ace!).
Also, after the ZX Spectrum, almost everything Clive Sinclair did turned to dust. Microdrives, the QL, the C5, portable CRTs, wafer-scale integration, etc. About the only thing that worked was the Z88 (which was a niche). And yes, we can blame him from not building on the ZX Spectrum. If we give him credit for successes, we have also to include his failures. It was presumably his strategic decision not to continue developing home computers. He had followed the ZX81 up with the Spectrum. He could have followed the Spectrum up with another consumer computer, too, but didn't. There certainly were proposals at Sinclair Research, such as the LC3 or Loki (though I suspect neither of those particular proposals would have been successful).
Acorn's success with the BBC Micro led to the Archimedes and ARM. Even Commodore went on to the Amiga. I believe Apple went on to other things, too.
But Sinclair went down blind alleys.
Yes, he was a visionary. His vision of electric vehicles, robotics and AI all seems prescient now, but it was little more than science fiction at the time, and Clive Sinclair contributed very little or nothing to realising them. The revolution under way at the time was the home computing revolution, and despite a winning start, Clive Sinclair failed to build on it. He had a winning hand, but played it badly.