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Google celebrates 30th anniversary of the ZX Spectrum

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Today's Google Doodle celebrates the 30th anniversary of one of the most popular computers ever in Britain, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

Spectrum Doodle Google
Spectrum Doodle Google

Those younger readers among you may have looked at this morning's ZX Spectrum Google Doodle with confusion. The front page of Google UK is adorned with a relatively tiny Spectrum-themed doodle depicting St. George slaying a dragon (it's also St. George's Day today). The image's size of 256 x 192 pixels is the maximum resolution the Spectrum could output, and it's rendered in the computer's splendid 8-bit color. But why is the ZX Spectrum worth celebrating?

The brainchild of inventor Clive Sinclair, the rainbow-bearing ZX Spectrum was the first computer that captured the British public's attention. Priced at £125, it was in a completely different price category to the Apple II or Commodore 64, and was half the price of its nearest competitor, the BBC Micro. It featured a 3.5MHz CPU, either 16kB or 48kB of RAM, and a cassette deck for reading and writing data. The computer was immensely popular — Sinclair sold over five million ZX Spectrums, and was many a Brit's first foray into computing. The BBC posted an interview with two of the creators of the Spectrum today, and it's well worth a read for anyone interested in the history of computers.