Oddball Micros: Timex/Sinclair 1500
By James Grahame
Sinclair's low cost computer designs must have caused more than a few sleepless nights around the computer industry in the early 1980s, but the truth was that their early ZX81 (known as the Timex Sinclair 1000 in the USA) had serious shortcomings that prevented it from becoming more than a novelty.
Timex was Sinclair's North American manufacturing and sales partner, and in mid 1983 they introduced the Timex Sinclair 1500 in an attempt to fix a couple of the ZX81's most glaring warts: the ZX81's infamous membrane touchpanel was replaced by a "real" chicklet-based design (taken from the new color Sinclair Spectrum), and the memory was expanded to a respectable 16K (up from the Timex 1000's measley 1024 bytes). The display was still B&W, and the standard machine was incapable of making sound unless thrown.
The TS 1500 was priced at an astounding $79.95. It didn't sell well because the industry's dirty little secret was that most low-cost machines spent their lives as fancy videogame consoles -- and the TS1500 couldn't compete with the rainbow of color and sound (can one have a rainbow of sound?) produced by the competiton.
Timex Sinclair 1500 (more at old-computers.com)