Cambridge Z88 With PC Link Kit
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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).
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 original box and manual, this pack includes the software and hardware to link the Z88 to a PC. Serial number 044413.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH47467. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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