The Sinclair Collection - Cambridge Z88 (1988)
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Cambridge Z88
Serial Number 029174 Made in Scotland by SCI UK LTD.
Sinclair computers may have gone to Amstrad and finished with the plus 3, but that wasn't quite the end of the story.
Sir Clive Sinclair had been working for some time on a portable computer. Unable to use the Sinclair name, he set up Cambridge Computer to complete the project which became the Z88.
The Z88 is a portable machine, the size of an A4 folder, with an eight row LCD screen. There is built-in software called PipeDream, which is a spreadsheet that can be used as a wordprocessor and a database, plus a diary, calendar and calculator and an alarm. It also has a version of BBC BASIC. The file management system allows files to be exported via an RS232 connection to PCs running Wordstar or Lotus 1-2-3, popular software at the time.
Being a Sinclair computer, some things are non-standard. Like the rubber keyboard which has an optional click to reassure the user. And the CTRL and ALT keys marked with a diamond and a square.
The 32KB memory can be expanded, there are two slots for RAM or ROM allowing additional software to be installed. Mine has 128K RAM and PC Link. There is also an EPROM slot for saving files in a safe way so that they are not lost if the batteries fail.
The computer can be powered from the mains or by four AA batteries giving up to 20 hours portable use. They also maintain the memory when the computer is off, lasting about a year if only used for this purpose. Memory is retained only briefly during battery changes, so it's best to do this while connected to the mains power supply.
My Z88 has a soft protective case and a cardboard carrying box. It also has a booking form for training days operated by Rakewell Limited in Bletchley, Milton Keynes.
Although quite a useful computer, sales seem to have been disappointing and this was Sir Clive's last entry in the computer field.
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