Bean wrote: ↑Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:42 am
I know they would have been expensive,
YES. VERY. Remember home computers themselves were expensive back then. Computers that came with floppy drives as standard where mostly XT/early '286 PC's that were even more expensive. Like "business-only" kind of expensive.
I just checked.. for example the Discovery for the ZX Spectrum (3,5" drive + interface + various ports) was sold at £199. That was a lot of money back then. And in 1984..1985 or so, that is: several years after ZX81 came out. Something similar for the ZX81, to be introduced around 1982..1983 would have been much more than £199.
but I would have gladly paid top dollar to have a floppy drive for my Timex Sinclair 1000.
Due to the above, most ZX81 users @ the time would NOT have. Not to mention that such a thing simply wasn't available afaik. And what's the point of a floppy drive with a 1 or 2KB RAM machine? So you'd need 16 or 32K RAM expansion to go with it (integrated into floppy interface or not). Even 16KB RAM wasn't cheap back then. So this would have made a floppy add-on for a ZX81 even more expensive than drive + interface alone.
And a little later, when the ZX Spectrum was 'everywhere', then the Microdrive (as semi-reliable and semi-slow as it was), was a cheaper and 'good enough' alternative for those users for whom tape wasn't 'good enough'. Wouldn't surprise me if quite a few potential
floppy drive buyers picked a Microdrive for their ZX Spectrum instead. And afaik even the Microdrive itself wasn't that
popular anyway. Again: tape was 'good enough' for most users. And/or they didn't know any better, with this "computer" stuff being new & all.
Moggy wrote: ↑Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:23 pm
you only have to read the American published Sync magazine to see quite a few advertisements for floppy systems stateside.
What was advertised & how often, doesn't say how many of such systems where actually sold. I don't think there where that many floppy users in the early days, in the US NOR
in Europe. A few years later (like around 1985 or so), sure. Floppy drives for C64 users, floppy interfaces for MSX machines, MSX2 (1986) with many having built-in floppy drive, PC's moving to the 386 etc. But not in the years between ZX81 and Spectrum introduction.
Couple of years later again, and floppy drives became more or less standard on any computer (PC, Amiga, Atari ST, MSX2/2+ etc). So another way to look at it: ZX81 came on the market too early to be able
to have a 'cheap enough' floppy drive with it. And when floppy drives did
become cheap enough, ZX81 days were over (commercially speaking).