I don't think this is a fair comparison. Electric vehicles, cloud computing and quantum computers have been around for years by now, are available to the general public (yes, even quantum computers if we take the IBM Q Experience into account), and from what the trends seem to be nowadays, it can be predicted with a good margin of success that in about 10 years or even less they will be prevalent. Nothing of this could be said of solid state data storage in 1987. In addition to that, Sinclair received his knighthood for industrial merits (at least that's what the Italian press reported at the time), not for his reflections on the future.Rorthron wrote: ↑Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:55 amAlso he may have made a prediction, but that isn't a huge contribution, especially as it was an obvious extrapolation of Moore's Law that has been made by very many people. I predict that one day there will be more EVs on the road than internal combustion engine vehicles, one day the majority of computing will be done in the cloud, one day quantum computing will be widespread. If any of those turn out to be true, I'm happy to come back to collect any applause/prizes/knighthoods.
I would not dismiss a recent, well-documented research as "nothing". Moreover, Sinclair would not be the only one to have envisioned technological advancements unfeasible at the time they were imagined. Leonardo da Vinci designed machines that could not be made into real items with 15th century technology, and it took four or five centuries to do that. Even the 3-inches mini-TV was not so far-fetched as an idea as it might seem, considering that nowadays people watch videos and TV live broadcast on their cell phones, which screens are often not so much larger. Of course they have LCD/LED screens, but in 1978 LCD technology did not allow for such an employ, and it was not as clear as today that such smaller cathode ray tubes would not yield enough image quality to justify their cost to the final user. Pretty much the same could be said for the C5, although it was a much braver attempt at a new product than the mini-TV. A much simpler, down-to-earth electric bike would arguably have been a good deal more successful than it was.
I believe you are mistakenly assuming an equivalence between "consumer goods" and "lower end of the market". In marketing science and socioeconomics, professionals and small entrepreneurs are consumers as well as everyone else. A consumer product is any product that an individual purchases on the market to satisfy a certain need. A QL and a Spectrum were consumer goods exactly in the same terms as, say, a Pentax 645Z and a Canon EOS 1300D are. They basically do the same things but are aimed at different segments of the market, i.e. consumers with different needs.
Apart from this, I also believe the whole picture remains unknown to us. At the cost of repeating myself, I'll say it again: my perception is that, with a lesser ego and a more cautious, gradual approach into researching new technologies, Sinclair would have produced more goods and establish a solid brand, avoiding the rapid downfall we all know about. Ultimately however, in the great game of globalized markets, he would have been swallowed by a bigger fish. He simply would have been unable to compete with the large corporations of today.