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The ZX81 is a home computer produced by Sinclair Research and manufactured in Scotland by Timex Corporation. It was launched in the United Kingdom in March 1981 as the successor to Sinclair’s ZX80 and was designed to be a low-cost introduction to home computing for the general public. It was hugely successful, and more than 1.5 million units were sold before it was discontinued. The ZX81 found commercial success in many other countries, notably the United States, where it was initially sold as the ZX-81. Timex manufactured and distributed it under licence and enjoyed a substantial but brief boom in sales. Timex later produced its own versions of the ZX81 for the US market ‚Äì the Timex Sinclair 1000 and Timex Sinclair 1500. Unauthorised clones of the ZX81 were produced in several countries.
“The ZX81 was a home computer made by Cambridge-based company Sinclair Research and released in 1981. It was notable for its low price and small size, and in the UK was the first computer to be sold in high street stores such as WH Smith.
The ZX81 was the brainchild of Clive Sinclair, who had previously created the ZX80, a very similar machine which was launched in 1980. The ZX81 used a Zilog Z80A microprocessor and came with 1KB of onboard RAM, expandable to 16KB. It could be connected to a TV or monitor, and came with a simple membrane keyboard which could be used to input programs and data.
Despite its limitations, the ZX81 was a popular machine, selling over 1.5 million units worldwide. It was succeeded by the ZX Spectrum, in 1982.”