The real beginning of home computing all started with the ZX Spectrum. Introduced by Sir Clive Sinclair in 1982, it proved to be a huge hit in the home.
The machine was small, smaller than any laptop available today. It plugged into a standard television set and used a standard tape recorder for storage. It was equipped with 48K of ram which was plenty for what it needed to do. A 5.25" disk drive was available for those that needed it (programmers and the like). It was a machine tailored for home use.
Sinclair proved that his machine could be a flexible tool. Word Processing, database & spreadsheet applications were cheaply available and it mimicked the action of the arcade games which had become so popular in the late 70's. Space Invaders, Pac Man, Pong - all classics of their time and could all be played cheaply within the home.
Despite Sinclair having to sell Sinclair Research to Amstrad after the dismal sales provided by the Sinclair C5, the ZX spectrum continued to thrive. New 128K versions with more powerful sound were produced with a choice of a built in disk or tape drive.
First ZX Spectrum with rubber keys (16k/48k)
Spectrum +3 with build-in 3.5" diskdrive
Zilog Z80A @ 3.54690 MHz
Depending on the model: 16/48/128 KB
Depending on the model: 16/32/64 KB
Graphics: 256x192 with 8 colors (but only 2 usable per 8x8 pixel-square)