The most popular model was the Timex Sinclair 1000, which sold for $99.95 and was the first computer to sell for under $100.
So Called Features
The Timex Sinclair had the following "features":
- It had an embedded BASIC interpreter and a Z80A CPU, running at a screaming 3.25 MHz.
- BASIC not only described its built in language interpreter, but also its design and functionality. (Its quality and design were as good as the watches of the same name.)
- It had a membrane keyboard that took far too much pressure to type on and the keys were scientifically spaced to thwart even the most creative touch typist.
- Its display was your TV set,and then, only in livid Black and White.
- Its bargain design did not have a dedicated video IC, badly overloading the processor, which was pedaling as fast as it could simply running the embedded OS. It put out a slow 24x32 column text only display.
- You could store your programs to an (optional) cassette recorder through the infamous 'Kansas City Interface', to cheap Radio Shack cassette tapes (specced to no less than three dropouts to the inch).
- You could print to a small, tacky (and optional) thermal printer that used paper very similar to a cash register tape. (Don't leave the print in direct sunlight!)
- It also had an (optional) 16K memory expander unit that plugged to the back, but was only secured by friction, thus was constantly coming loose and causing the unit to malfunction. The manufacturer recommended taping the expander to the unit.
Comparison to Other Computers
All in all, the Timex Sinclair 1000 (some called it the 'Slimex Sinclair') made the Commodore VIC 20 look like a Cray supercomputer.
Interesting Facts Concerning This Unit
- The prototype for the Timex Sinclair was built from an inexpensive digital watch (Timex) powered by a tiny engine fueled by gasoline (Sinclair). A competing product, the Casio Shell, was abandoned in development and never reached the market.
- Nicknamed 'the kitten killer' it drove many of its users to the self (and kitten) destructive habit of Kitten Huffing.
- In a book written a number of years ago about the early success of the Commodore 64, its author told of a special program Commodore had for getting $100 off a Commodore 64 by sending in your old computer. By that time the Timex Sinclair 1000 was selling for $50 and a lot of people simply bought a unit and sent it to Commodore.
- Not knowing what to do with the flood of Sinclairs, they finally decided that they made excellent doorstops and used them as such around Commodore headquarters.
- Work is underway to develop a version of Linux for the Sinclair. The "Timux" distro is currently in alpha development.
Ultimately Unloaded on Central America
It later had its OS translated to Spanish and was inflicted on Central America.