After 31 years and over 200 million units sold, Sony
is officially putting the cassette model Walkman out to pasture
. Introduced in 1979, the portable tape player defined the following 10-plus years of mobile music playback. It was even a leader in the era of optical media, with its Walkman line of portable CD players eventually known as Discman. But in the era of the iPod
, the brand name has diminished in value. Radios and digital media players still go by the name Walkman, but the moniker has always referred to the tape-playing model in the collective mind. And as Sony announced that it shipped its last batch of tape-playing Walkmen back in April, we couldn't help shed a tear for the ubiquitous '80s gadget.
You'll still be able to find cassette-playing Walkmen if you happen to live in Asia or the Middle-East. Sony has licensed the name to a number of Chinese manufacturers who will continue to produce the portable tape players. But if you're hoping to get your hands on an authentic Sony Walkman manufactured in Japan, you'll have to settle for an MP3 player.