Sinclair Research have signed a deal with Timex in America to get the ZX81 sold through some 171,000 retail outlets in the States. Very shortly, lucky Americans will be able to buy ZX81s from the same shops which sell jewellery, perfume and Timex watches.
Uncle Clive will get a royalty on all sales under the new contract, which covers current and future Sinclair personal computer products, and Timex's own development of Sinclair computer technology.
It also includes the use of Uncle C's version of BASIC, although the pound sign on the ZX keyboard has raised a few eyebrows in the States. Apparently the Yanks were wondering what in hell this squiggly little symbol meant. The best guess that it was a new form of mathematical symbol which the British understood, but which hadn't yet been taught in progressive American schools.
Sinclair Research told ZX COMPUTING that Timex's marketing expertise meant that the ZX81 would make much greater inroads into the US market than has been the case in the past. And, with a high-tech background - ranging from cameras to gyroscopes - Timex reckon they'll quickly become a viable competitor in the personal computer field.
For the time being, Sinclair's Boston-based US subsidiary will continue to sell the '81 by mail order until Timex's own sales reach agreed levels. The Boston group will then concentrate on selling the new flat-screen telly. This is expected to be available just before Christmas.