Computing pioneer who predicted ‘driverless cars’ and mobile phones dies at home

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Sir Clive Sinclair, the British computing pioneer who predicted driverless cars and mobile phones, has died at his home aged 81.

Sir Clive was most famous for his ZX Spectrum computer, the product that really introduced computing into our homes at an affordable price after its release in April 1982.

It would go on to become Britain's best selling microcomputer.

Sir Clive also invented the pocket calculator in 1972, a must have for many before the introduction of mobile phone calculators much later.

His daughter, Belinda, told The Guardian: "He was a rather amazing person. Of course, he was so clever and he was always interested in everything.

"My daughter and her husband are engineers so he'd be chatting engineering with them.

"It was the ideas, the challenge, that he found exciting. He'd come up with an idea and say, ''there's no point in asking if someone wants it, because they can't imagine it."

Sir Clive left school at 17 and initially worked as a journalist before founding Sinclair Radionics, a company that developed a range of electronic equipment including pocket calculators throughout the 1970s.

One of his huge breakthroughs came in January 1980 when the ZX80 computer was released. At £79.95 in kit form and £99.95 pre-assembled, it was one fifth of the price of other available computers.

The next model, the ZX 81, cost even less that £69.95 and shifted 250,000 units, only to be blown out of the water by the ZX Spectrum which was bought 5 million times.

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