Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sony Walkman, entertainment gadget for the masses. 1979-2010

Another iconic technological device has been banished to the dustbin of history: Sony will no longer produce its Walkman cassette player due to dismal sales. The final batch of the portable tape players was shipped from Japan in April, according to PC Magazine.

A Chinese company will continue to produce a few models for the Walkman faithful, according to the New York Post. Sony has sold about 220 million Walkman devices since the gadget's explosive 1979 debut, but the portable cassette player has steadily yielded market share to portable CD players and then eventually MP3 players, symbolized by Apple's no-less-iconic iPod. (Sony will continue to make portable CD players.)

Apple founder Steve Jobs, who helped introduce the iPod, was evidently very impressed with the Walkman when he first saw one 25 years ago.

"I remember Akio Morita gave Steve and me each one of the first Sony Walkmans," former Apple CEO John Sculley told Businessweek. "None of us had ever seen anything like that before because there had never been a product like that. This is 25 years ago and Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did with his was take it apart and he looked at every single part. How the fit and finish was done, how it was built."

The iPod has already outsold the Walkman since its debut in 2001, according to the International Business Times.

Sony uses the Walkman name for its new MP3 players. Meanwhile, in another blow to connoisseurs of outmoded technologies, the company also announced in April that it would no longer make floppy disks.

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