Sony Sits the Walkman

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Sony Sits the Walkman

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It's the end of an era: After 30 years, the venerable Sony Walkman portable cassette player is no more.

Gamers of a certain age will remember it well: The day that truly portable music first entered their lives. With the creation of the Walkman, a tiny (relatively speaking) cassette player that first came to market in 1979, Sony revolutionized music by making it possible for anyone to listen to what they wanted, wherever they wanted. In those heady days, nothing marked a person as a cutting-edge consumer more immediately and powerfully than the sight of a Walkman clipped to a belt.

Those days are long gone, of course. Sony sold roughly 200 million Walkman cassette players over the years but the inexorable march of progress had long ago rendered it virtually irrelevant and now it's official: Sony has announced that the batch of Walkmans (Walkmen?) shipped to Japanese retailers in April will be the last. Ironically, the official announcement of the end of the cassette Walkman came just one day before the ninth anniversary of the iPod.

MP3 players are cool and portable CD players had their moment, but neither of them can hold a candle to the old Walkman for sheer transformative magic. The end of the Walkman may have been inevitable but for people who remember the thrill of walking uptown with the Flash Gordon Soundtrack blasting through their headphones, it's still a bit of a wistful moment.

Source: CNN

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R.I.P. Walkman.

That remind me...I need to finally get an MP3 player or at least a smartphone. I mostly just play my DS in situations where I'd use an MP3 player, though.

*Long rant about the misuse of the word ironic*

The word you're looking for is "coincidentally."

Ahhh, the old walkman. I think my ones still kicking about in the loft somewhere, but its had its day. Goodbye my old friend.

How disappointing to realize I've outlived yet another device from my childhood. At least they already had MP3 versions of it, so you might see those for a while. Still, bad enough to know I was already older than this invention, doesn't help to know it died.

The cassette Walkman is dead, but the Walkman still does exist as an mp3 player.

I should buy one of the last batch and keep in unsealed, could you imagine how much an opened Walkman would be worth some day?

They still made those? Wow. Yeah I remember having one, too, in the early 90s. My first portable music device. It worked a lot better than my discman.

Good by Walkman. You brought me much joys over the years.

Well I still have mine, and it works. Just saying goodbye in general.

R.I.P Walkman. That device was a big deal back then.

SomebodyNowhere:
The cassette Walkman is dead, but the Walkman still does exist as an mp3 player.

but its just not the same!

long past are the days of having Side A blaring on your way to school and Side B while you are hanging out with your friends.

Good night sweet prince, you shall always have a place in my heart.

even though you would randomly rewind my tapes you sneaky bastard!

I'm surprised it lasted this long to be honest.

That's funny, i own a Sony Walkman - it's a small USB stick that plays mp3s.

What is this "cassette" thing you are talking about.

danpascooch:
I should buy one of the last batch and keep in unsealed, could you imagine how much an opened Walkman would be worth some day?

Only in a select markets. I think the value of something is only equal to it's usefullness. Now a vinyl copy of the Flash Gordon soundtrack, that's a piece of Brian Blessed filled work.

danpascooch:
I should buy one of the last batch and keep in unsealed, could you imagine how much an opened Walkman would be worth some day?

When computers rebel and digital media cannot be trusted humanity will value your gumption...

i suspect like many people i still have one in a drawer somewhere.

its pretty rare when someone comes up with something completely new and the walkman was one such invention.

it must be considered the progenitor of every personal music player that followed and retires with my respect :)

There had been cassette players of various smallness prior to the Walkman, and while Sony's effort was impressive in its own right, that wasn't IMHO what made the Walkman a raging success.

It was the headphones.

Prior to Walkman, personal listening involved either monaural plastic knobs you wore in a single ear and which sounded thin as all hell (when you could hear them at all); or a couple of "cans" holding small paper-cone speakers, which were bulky, heavy, and sounded fairly muddy.

Walkman was among the first (if not the first) to offer headphones made with rare-earth magnets (Sarium Cobalt, I think) and mylar diaphragms. The frequency response and fidelity was astonishing compared to everything that came before. Not only did the new headphones sound infinitely better, they were also more compact, thus lending themselves to portable audio.

If you'd had previous experience with portable electronics and their poor headphones, the experience of hearing a Walkman for the first time was literally jaw-dropping.

I didn't know anybody was still making Walkmans, to be honest. I haven't seen a cassette in a decade.

I still have my old walkman one for cassettes and one for CDs xD

Silk_Sk:
The word you're looking for is "coincidentally."

Actually, the word I'm thinking of right now is entirely different, but thanks for dropping in to contribute.

I didn't realize they were still making them. I live right by the border and I still see the occasional music tape from time to time. The market over there is slowly changing to cds for everything. I wouldn't mind snagging on to one of the last walkman and keep it in good condition to see if its value would go really high later on.

I guess this also ends the era of the mix tape as well.

I think my Mom had one of those. Oh well, good bye Walkman.

I still remember I got a Walkman. It made sitting under a tree reading go from being almost the perfect way too spend an afternoon too the perfect way too spend an afternoon.

Gotta love that non volatile memory chaps. It has destroyed the Walkmen and now it's after your Harddrives!

I'm too young to have been a part of the walkman generation; I just skipped straight to CD players. Still, it's nice to know where it all began. R.I.P Sony Walkman. May you deliver melodies to the gods for all eternity.

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'nuff said.

I still have both of mine!! One is one of the aforementioned mono-headphones ones though.

In 5 years people won't even remember what cassettes are, maybe 10 years until video tapes fade from memory. :(

dekkarax:

'nuff said.

Hahaha, owned.

Onyx Oblivion:
R.I.P. Walkman.

That remind me...I need to finally get an MP3 player or at least a smartphone. I mostly just play my DS in situations where I'd use an MP3 player, though.

How do you manage to get first post on absolutely everything?!

On topic: I think I had a CD Walkman when I was a kid, not to sure...

They still made those things?

Christ. I thought they died YEARS ago.

I've owned Tape, CD and MiniDisc Walkmen, tape never sounded great but was definately the best for year. I barely used my CD one because it was an early model that had huge problems with skipping (plus tapes made it really cheap and easy to record whatever you wanted). MiniDisc was like the best of both worlds, the easy recording, no skipping, small form factor of tape combined with the sound quality of CDs. Unfortunately it was too expensive and had to compete against smaller, cheaper MP3 players so it died off fast (the only thing it had on them was audio quality and arguably storage depending on you point of view).
I don't really understand why anyone would be unhappy about technology moving on, I love progress.

I've still got my old Walkman and tapes. Might as well listen to some my old tunes, to remember the good times I had with this antique piss of crap.

Ah yes, I used to use my parent's walkman all the time when I would mow the grass. Good times

Goodnight sweet prince.

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