After the success and confirmation of the business opportunity with the Sinclair ZX80 computer (the first under the 100£ price tag in 1980), Sir Clive Sinclair and his Sinclair Research needed a partner and investor to scale the emerging computing business. Timex, that had previous experience of working in electronics (e.g. assembling Polaroid cameras in the 70s) accepted the challenge and initiated a partnership with Sinclair whose first step was to start assembling the ZX81 computers in the Timex plant in Dundee, Scotland. In the agreement, Timex secured the rights to sell computers with their own brand in markets where Sinclair was mostly not present. Timex intention was to address the North American market and so they started by modifying and selling with their brand a ZX81 variant.
To address the computing business, Timex created the Timex Computer Corp which introduced the Timex-Sinclair (TS) computer series: TS1000, TS1500, and TS2068. Collaborating with them was the Timex Portugal unit which created a local R&D/Engineering team and collaborated with the USA team in the development and then assembled most of the TS computers.
TS1000 is a Sinclair ZX81 clone but it has 2K RAM.
TS1500 is a TS1000 with a new case/keyboard, 16K RAM, bug fixes, and new bugs to the ROM.
TS2068 is an evolution of the ZX Spectrum, with a new silver case, new ROMs (24K), new commands, extra video modes, a video composite jack, a built-in cartridge player, an AY sound chip, and a better keyboard with a full-size space bar. Because of the new ROMs, the TS2068 could only run 7% of the ZX Spectrum software. With the Spectrum emulator cartridge, the TS2068 can run 97% of the software. The edge connector is not ZX Spectrum compatible, but TS1000 compatible.
Only these three computers were sold by Timex Computer Corp. The other ones (TS series) were prototypes and never reached the market.
After Timex Computer Corporation decided to withdrew from the computing business in 1984, Timex Portugal continued and created and sold the Timex Computer (TC) computers series: TC2048, TC2068, and TC3256.
TC2068 is the European version of the American TS2068 with some fixes, it is more compatible with the ZX Spectrum and also has a ZX Spectrum edge connector.
TC2048 is a creation of Timex Portugal, being 99.99999% compatible with the ZX Spectrum, has the extra video modes, a Kempston joystick port, and a video composite jack. The edge connector is also ZX Spectrum compatible.
TC3256 was a new computer based on a Z80 microprocessor but that never reached the market because Amstrad bought Sinclair Research and ended the partnership.
The Polish joint-venture Unipolbrit, bought black TC2068s and adapted them to the local market, which were sold with the name UK 2086.
Timex Portugal also assembled the TS1000 and participated actively in the development of the TS1500 computers and was responsible for their assemblage. TIMEX Portugal also sold the remaining peripherals available for the TS2068 such as the thermal printer, joysticks, and tape recorder. Later the TS2040 was sold as Timex Printer 2040. The plant in Portugal also assembled, refurbished and resold many ZX Spectrums to several markets.
For further, detailed, information on Timex endeavours in the computing business, on top of all the information on this website, we can recommend the amazing work led by David Anderson (who is now also part of our team) in his timexsinclair website available here.