Cambridge Z88

The Cambridge Computer Z88 was an A4-size, lightweight, portable Z80-based computer with a built-in combined word processing/spreadsheet/database application called Pipedream, along with several other apps/utilities, such as a Z80-version of BBC BASIC.

The machine was designed by Sir Clive Sinclair and released by his company Cambridge Computer in 1987 (Sir Clive having been unable to market the computer as the Sinclair Z88 after selling Sinclair Research's computer business to Amstrad in 1986).
 
The Z88 is a portable computer based on a low-power CMOS version of the popular Z80 microprocessor. It comes with 32 KB of internal pseudo-static RAM and 128 KiB of ROM containing the Operating System (called OZ), but can be expanded up to 3.5 MB of RAM, of which the contents are preserved thanks to the batteries. An integrated capacitor prevents the Z88 from losing its data for a limited amount of time while changing the batteries.

Despite the lightness of the Z88—it weighs 0.9 kg—its construction is surprisingly robust, including its membrane/chiclet keyboard which is both comfortable and almost inaudible (an optional electronic "click" can be turned on if it proves too quiet for the user's taste). During development it was reffered to as having a "dead flesh" texture due to its distinctive rubber feel.

Powered by four AA batteries (giving up to 20 hours of use), the computer has three memory slots; each of which can be used for RAM expansion, removable mass storage, and proprietary program use. Since the slots use RAM, EPROM and ROM for their data transfer, the transfer speeds are usually very high. Although RAM cards of up to 1 MB capacity were available, they were expensive. Most users used one or two 128 KB cards.

Though the SuperTwist LCD display has only eight lines, it is clear and surprisingly effective. In Pipedream, a miniature view of a whole page appears to the right of the display, giving a good feel for the overall layout, and compensating for the inevitable "letterbox" effect.

Our model is in excellent condition with the oroiginal box and manual

Manufacturer: Sinclair
Date: 1987

Other Systems Related To Cambridge Z88:

Item Manufacturer Date
White Replica ZX Spectrum (Millionth Edition) Sinclair Unknown
Science of Cambridge MK14 + Original Keyboard Sinclair 1977
Science of Cambridge MK14 Sinclair 1977
Science of Cambridge MK14 - Original Kit Sinclair 1977
Science of Cambridge MK14 + Memory Expansion in wooden case Sinclair 1977
Sinclair ZX80 Updated to ZX81 Sinclair 1980
Sinclair ZX80 Sinclair 1st June 1980
Sinclair ZX81 Kit Sinclair 1981
Sinclair ZX81 Issue One Sinclair 5th March 1981
Sinclair ZX81 (Signed) Sinclair 5th March 1981
Sinclair ZX81 with Custom Case/Keyboard Sinclair 5th March 1981
Sinclair ZX Spectrum Console Sinclair 1982
Timex Sinclair 1000 Sinclair 1982
Early Sinclair ZX Spectrum Computer Sinclair 1982
Prototype Issue 2 ZX Spectrum Sinclair 1982
Sinclair ZX Spectrum Console Sinclair 1982
Sinclair TS2000 Sinclair 1982
Timex Sinclair 1000 Sinclair 1982
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k Sinclair 1st March 1982
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 16K Sinclair 1st March 1982
Sinclair ZX Spectrum Case (Signed) Sinclair 1st March 1982
Sinclair QL Sinclair 1984
Sinclair QL + SchÖn Keyboard Sinclair 1984
Sinclair QL (Property of Sinclair) Sinclair 1984
Sinclair QL (Signed) Sinclair 1984
Sinclair QL (US) Sinclair 1984
Sinclair ZX Spectrum+ Sinclair 1st June 1984
Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2 Sinclair 1986
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128 Sinclair January 1986
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128 Sinclair 1st June 1986
Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 Sinclair 1st June 1987
Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 (Currys Box) Sinclair 1st June 1987
Sinclair PC200 Sinclair 1988

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH4860. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

 

Cambridge Z88

  Peripherals   [9]

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