The Sinclair Collection - Sinclair ZX80 (1980)
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My two ZX80s have no serial numbers. The one on the left has seen better days but the other works perfectly.
 
The Sinclair ZX80 was launched in 1980 as a cheap introduction to home computing. It was available in kit form or ready assembled for a slightly higher price. The initial 1KB of memory and the flat keyboard helped keep the price low.
 
The full QWERTY keyboard and the built-in BASIC programming language made the computer usable by anyone, not just hobbyists with a knowledge of hexadecimal and machine code assembly. At the rear are sockets for a cassette tape recorder to save and load programs, black and white output to an ordinary television and the power connection.
 
At the back there is also an edge connector. This allows additional memory and peripherals such as a printer and joystick adaptor to be attached. The computer is inclined to get very warm, what looks like ventilation on the top is purely decorative.
 
The keyboard was unusual as, instead of typing in BASIC instructions, keywords were generated by a single touch. So if the first keypress was F then the word FOR appeared on the screen. Pressing F again would produce the letter F as the computer recognises that a command is followed by a variable.
 
 
Pressing on SHIFT and L now produces = and if you follow that with 1 followed by SHIFT and 4 then 5, on pressing NEWLINE you have the instruction FOR F=1 TO 5. After a while this seems quite natural.
 
Each instruction must be on a separate line and only capital letters are available. It is not possible to type in the keywords. The delete key is labelled RUBOUT and the enter or return key is labelled NEW LINE.
 
Some 50,000 ZX80s were sold. At the time, it was thought there was virtually no market for home computers.
 
 
 
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