THE SPECTRUM is now being sold over the counter in 65 major branches of W H Smith. Sales areas include Manchester, Birmingham and south-east London.
It was introduced into Smiths at the beginning of December and John Rowland, market development manager, is optimistic about the new addition to the Smith computer range.
"We are selling the Spectrum on a permanent basis and we would like to sell peripherals for the Spectrum when, and if, they arrive," he says.
"We are also selling the Sinclair range of software to support the Spectrum and this is expanding all the time."
The Smith move into selling the Spectrum has not slackened demand for the ZX-8 1 and its software. "We were surprised by the continuing demand for the ZX-81. Sales figures are on a level with this time last year," he says.
Smith's range of software now comprises more than 40 titles for the Spectrum and ZX-81. The company is also starting to sell accessories and books for both machines.
THE COMPUTER DIVISION of Sinclair Research has moved into new premises at Willis Road, Cambridge (above). An old factory, part of which can be seen on the right of the picture, has been completely refurbished.
It is the first time both sections of the division- research and development and marketing-have been together on one site. The factory was bought in the autumn of 1981 and improvement work has been going on since then.
SINCLAIR computers are moving into the health market. A series of programs has been launched by Eastmead Computer Systems intended to educate and advise on a comprehensive range of medical topics.
The series is not intended to replace professional advice but to complement it by teaching people about preventative techniques and how to cope with problems when they arise. It is hoped that people will be encouraged to seek medical advice in cases when they might otherwise have delayed.
Two of the cassettes have been available for the ZX-81 since before Christmas. They deal with basic medicine and a simple screening system. There are plans to issue them later for the Spectrum.
The series is based on the writings of Dr Vernon Coleman, author of a number of books and articles on the subject.
THE FIRST Sinclair Prize for Fiction has been won by Hilda Berntein for her novel based on her experience of political conflict in South Africa. She will receive £5,000 and Death is Part of the Process is to be published soon by Sinclair Browne, the publishing house formed by Clive Sinclair and Patrick Browne in 1981.
Sinclair Research sponsored the prize for unpublished work to encourage "high-quality writing with contemporary social and political relevance". After its success in the first year it is intended to continue with the award, which the company is confident will become a major feature of the literary scene.
It is part of the company's sponsorship of the arts which involves the support of many groups.
A NEW CLUB has been formed in the U.S. for owners of the TS-1000, the American equivalent of the ZX-81. The Run-it Software Club is described by one of its organisers, Gayle Morse, as a program-of-the-month club. If the software which it presents is received well in the States, the club may also expand to cover the British market. Morse says:
"The club was conceived last August. We did some test marketing in November and December and launched our first catalogue with the January feature program".
That program deals with buying and selling property which Run-it has priced at $10.95. The suggested retail price is $16.95 and the regular Run-it price is $14.95.
The Real Estate Advisor is just one sample of the quality of software which Run-it wants to market in the coming months. "Run-it programs all feature professional-level programming and clearly written manuals," the company says.
Regular selections in the catalogue will have 10 and 20 percent discounts each month but the Run-it feature programs will be priced at 30 or 40 percent off retail. The programs are written by a combination of staff and outside programmers.
Individual orders from Britain are welcome and further information can be obtained from Run-it Software Inc., Illinois.
A FINAL decision is still awaited on the demand for a year's ban on the import of microcomputers into Britain. The plea was made by a group of British micro manufacturers in a letter to the Prime Minister. An acknowledgement has been received and the manufacturers are now waiting to see if there will be any action.
The firms, known collectively as the British Microcomputer Manufacturers Group, are worried that imports could cause the British industry to be stillborn.
Although Sinclair Research is a member of the group, it has criticised the import ban call as being unhelpful. It would be better to dismantle controls which inhibited the growth of the British industry.
It is understood that officers of the BMMG are seeking a meeting with Clive Sinclair to try to resolve the differences.
A RESIDENTIAL weekend course has been started for new owners of the ZX-81 who are having difficulty with the official manual. The course, at the Gainsborough House Hotel, Kidderminster, costs £55 and includes full bed and board. There is accommodation for 20 people on each course and there is 15 hours of hands-on experience on one of the hotel's 20 ZX-81s.
ARTIFICIAL intelligence has reached the Spectrum, according to Nigel Searle, head of Sinclair Research computer division. Searle was talking about The Hobbit, a new 48K adventure game from Melbourne House.
Artificial intelligence gives a computer the ability to communicate with a user as if it had not been programmed to do so. In the case of The Hobbit, artificial intelligence is exhibited by the characters in the adventure which seem to act out normal lives which do not depend on how the player moves.
The Hobbit forms part of a new line of Spectrum software sold by Sinclair Research. Other titles include Adventures A, B and C.