Retro Computers Ltd yesterday announced a release date of 20th October 2016 for the new Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega + handheld and "...also plan to launch on selected online retail sites in time for Christmas 2016...".
It goes without saying that being ready in time for Christmas traditionally makes very good business sense - in the past console and computer manufacturers who have missed the seasonal shopping season have found themselves going out of business. In 1989 Miles Gordon Technology (MGT) missed the Christmas rush with their SAM Coupe computer which included a ZX Spectrum compatible screen mode for use with a 48k add-on to run Spectrum games and other software.
Along with other problems including the SAM's 8-bit Z80 architecture competing with 16-bit systems, and some technical difficulties, the SAM's original sellers were in receivership by mid-1990 and even a buy-out by MGT's founders never really saved the platform and they were out of business by 1992.
With this news, it looks like Sir Clive Sinclair and Dr David Levy's team are set to silence their critics, and release a worthy portable gaming system for ZX Spectrum enthusiasts, around the globe - old and new. Who knows - although Dr Levy said they would never to bring back the C5, maybe one day it's intended successor the full-sized Sinclair C15 car will be seen driving down the roads of the future?
According to information from Retro Computers Ltd, a slightly different version of the chip in the original Vega with more pins has been used in the Vega +, in order to allow a physical USB keyboard connection, great news for simulation and text adventure fans. The new team have also given the firmware a complete overhaul to iron out any bugs, and Industrial Designer of the original ZX Spectrum Rick Dickinson's stylish casing design will also be present on the new machine, which runs on a 32-bit processor emulating the original 8-bit machine.
There are some enhancements too with additional colours via ULA Plus, stereo sound, and a more crisp video output.
More information is available from the official home of the Vega +, at http://retrocomputerslimited.com/news/