A Walkman Obit: Remembering the Portable Player


The Walkman, the Sony cassette device that forever changed music listening before becoming outdated by digital MP3 players and iPods, has died. It was 31 years old.

Sony announced Monday that it has ceased production of the classic, cassette tape Walkman in Japan, effectively sounding the death knell of the once iconic, now obsolete device.

In 2008, JVC became the last company to cease production on stand-alone VCRs while HP omitted floppy disk drives from all its PCs in 2009 – years after other computer manufacturers did the same.

Apple did away with the floppy drive when they introduced the first iMac desktop computer back in 1998.

On the camera front, Polaroid halted its production of its well-known instant film products in 2008 before licensing the name out to a niche marketer.

With the introduction of digital music and online music stores like iTunes the number of CDs being used is also dwindling.

Portable CD players are also in serious decline thanks to the popularity and convenience of digital music.

The first Sony Walkman – the TPS-L2 – was unveiled in June 1979 and could only play, not record, tapes. It didn’t even have a radio but was still priced at $450.

It will continue to be produced in China and distributed in the U.S., Europe and some Asian countries. Digital Walkmans are also being made with models that display lyrics and have improved digital noise-canceling technology.

Still, if you’re looking to chisel a date in the Walkman’s tombstone, then Oct. 25, 2010, is as good as any.

(The Associated Press & The Daily Telegraph (AU) contributed to this report.)


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