About the Spectrum 48k

About the Spectrum 48K

One of the original “personal computers” to be produced by a company in the United Kingdom, the Spectrum 48K from Sinclair Research was originally manufactured in Scotland in a now closed down and abandoned Timex watch factory.

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One of the first few computers to take full advantage of colour display features, the Spectrum 48K was available in eight different models and sold well over 5 million units worldwide (and that isn’t even accounting for the millions and millions of “clone” computers that were essentially Spectrum 48K models under different branding from different companies).

The early 1980s were a boomtown for the world the personal computing, and every technology company on the planet was trying to grab as much market share as humanly possible. The Spectrum 48K went toe to toe against legendary computers like the Commodore 64, the BBC Microcomputer, and the Dragon 32 – some of the most influential pieces of hardware in the early days of personal computing.

Originally heading the market as the ZX Spectrum, the most defining feature of this early personal computer was its rubber keyboard and relatively compact form factor. The 48K designation of this computer represented the RAM or memory that this computer had onboard – 48 kB of RAM – at that time making it one of the most powerful computers available at the consumer level.

The keys on the keyboard for the Spectrum 48K lit up in a variety of different colours, giving it a very distinct look compared to the rest of the competition. This was seen as a very modern style, compared to the “beige boxes” produced by companies like IBM and even Apple at the time.

Some computer historians believe that Steve Jobs himself “borrowed” design elements from the original Spectrum 48K to influence future versions of the Macintosh, and most would have a tough time finding any information that would refute this.

Today, the Spectrum 48K is considered to be a collectors item in the world of personal computing and can fetch prices upwards of 1000 pounds or more depending upon the condition of the computer itself and whether or not it still operates.

In 2014, a Bluetooth enabled computer keyboard that was modeled off of the Spectrum 48K became available and quickly went on to sell out its first initial production run (and three subsequent production runs), really showing just how popular, memorable, and impactful this computer was and continues to be today.

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