Very sad news for tech geeks to pass along today … Sony has announced that it will no longer produce their iconic Walkman portable cassette stereos after the current batch of gadgets sells out. Despite the fact that the Apple iPod has pretty much become THE standard in portable music players in recent years, the Sony Walkman will forever remain, IMHO, the most important portable music player of all time. I gotta say … I’m really sad to see the Walkman die :(
After more than 30 years of producing its Walkman portable cassette players, Sony said it’s ending sales of the Walkman. The final batch was produced in Japan in April, and no more will be produced as soon as the current run is sold out. Just over 200 million cassette Walkman players have been sold over the years since being first introduced in 1979. Sony will continue to make and sell CD- and MiniDisc-based Walkmans, as well as its latest flash-based devices. Cloned but Sony-branded Walkmans will continue to be made by Chinese makers in Asia and the Middle East. The Walkman is widely credited with pioneering the concept of personal, portable audio beyond the radio. It helped spur on the cassette as a popular format and also maintained interest in albums. Interest only began to fade in the 1990s when the Discman took over, and saw a more definite end when the iPod was in sight.
It makes sense that Sony would discontinue production of their portable cassette players, especially since cassettes will very soon be extinct themselves … but … this is still really sad news. I remember when I got my first Sony Walkman back in the mid-80s … man, I loved that thing so much. My favorite memories include me riding around the block on my bike with my Sony Walkman strapped to my waist as I listened to Madonna, Prince, Stacey Q, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam … man, those were the good ol’ days. The Sony Walkman was just as popular at the time as the Apple iPod is today … but, alas, it’s natural that the old has to make way for the new. At least Sony is keeping the “Walkman” name alive with it’s CD and MP3 players but, in all honesty, they aren’t true Walkman devices. I’ll miss the real Sony Walkman … especially since it feels like a part of my childhood has just died :(