Amstrad is a UK-based electronics company which was founded in 1968 by Sir Alan Sugar, the company name is an abbreviation of Alan Michael Sugar Trading.
To capture the market from Sinclair and Commodore, the company began production of its own range of personal computers, the Amstrad CPC (Colour Personal Computer) in 1984. The CPC 464 was launched in the UK, France, Australia and Germany and came with either a green screen (aimed more at business) or a slightly more expensive colour screen (aimed at the home / gaming market). The CPC 464 was followed by the 664 which disposed of the built-in cassette recorder for storage and moved to the much more reliable floppy disk drive, later the 6128, 6128 plus and 464 plus which had all been updated both cosmetically and technically. The unit used Locomotive BASIC 1.0 for its Operating System.
The Amstrad had some very good games for the 8 bit market and some impressive arcade coin-op conversions. Some excellent games included Get Dexter, Jet Set Willy 2, Ikari Warriors, Into The Eagles Nest, Gryzor,Sky Shark, Predator, Golden Axe, Wizball and Gauntlet 2 to name but a few. There was a ready selection of good and reasonable priced software. The Amstrad boasted 64kb of RAM and had a General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing three channels.
As a late entrant to the European 8-bit market, the CPC range never achieved the sales volume of either the ZX Spectrum or the C64, but the advantages of a proper typewriter-style keyboard and integrated tape or floppy drive saw it obtain considerable market share in the late 80s. Production ceased in 1990.