It was the age of home computing, from 1980 when Sir Clive Sinclair introduced the first home computer for under £100, to the end of the decade when commodore was leading the way. We mostly used computers for gaming but there's no doubt that they played a big part in the development of the machines we have today.
This was where it all started the ZX80 was released in 1980 came in two forms: a kit to assemble yourself for £79 or a ready built version for £99. The computer had 1kb of ram (The average system has 8gb these days). In 1981 the ZX81 was released as a computer that anybody could use - It sold a massive 1.5million units!
Released in 1982 this was really the first mainstream computer it was subsequently released in upgraded form, but this is where home computing really took off. The software industry boomed upon the release of many games for the zx spectrum. As with most of the computers on the list software was loaded via cassette and an average game took about 6 - 8 mins to load!
Released in 1981 the BBC Micro was the result of a partnership between Acorn Computers (A rival to Sinclair) and the BBC. The whole system was designed with a focus on education and was adopted by most schools in the country. Our school could only afford one so it was on a heavy duty trolley that was wheeled between classrooms.