Sony silences the Walkman

Japan is saying sayonara to Sony’s

Japanese production of the
ground-breaking portable cassette tape player was halted in April, and sales
will stop once the last models are sold.

Sony, the Japanese electronics company,
will keep making them in China for customers in the U.S., Europe and some Asian

Since the Walkman’s debut in July
1979, more than 220 million of the cassette tape players have been sold
worldwide, AP said.

The Walkman was succeeded by the
Discman — Sony’s portable CD player — and its minidisc players and, later,
digital music. Demand for the once-ubiquitous Walkman today in Japan comes
mainly from elderly listeners.

The Walkman’s demise began with the
iPod and the move toward MP3 files around the turn of the century.

Sponsored Links The Walkman was
created by engineer Nobutoshi Kihara at the request of Sony Chairman Akio
Morita, the paper said. He was asked by the executive to design something to
let him listen to his favourite opera music during his frequent business trips,
it said.

Looking back, the portable cassette
players are nothing like the sleek iPods of today.

“By today’s standards, the
Walkman was clunky. The plastic tape player required frequent replacing of two
AA batteries,” Greg Sandoval wrote on CNET. “There was no shuffle.
There was no storage to speak of. It could play only the number of songs on the
tape. Jumping to a new song tasked an owner with fast forwarding, an inexact
process that meant repeated stops to find the start of the desired tune.”

But before it, listening to music
on the go meant holding a transistor radio up to your ear, he said, adding:
“The Walkman dazzled.”


Sony is sending its Walkman cassette tape player into retirement in Japan as demand for a music player dwindles to a tiny niche in the era of digital technology.
Photo: File