Let’s talk about the good old Walkman cassette player. More than 30 years after it’s an introduction, Sony has finally discontinued the cassette Walkman. Now a lot of people mistakenly thought that meant the end of the product line, altogether but the Walkman is still going strong and right now we’re gonna take a little jaunt down memory lane to see just how far the Walkman has come over the past three decades.
Walkman Cassette Player
The Walkman made its debut way back in 1979 as the TPS-L2. It was the very first portable music player with a headphone jack and was priced at 200 bucks. The name Walkman sounds so familiar to us now but it took Sony a little while to hit on it.
The TPS-L2 was actually released in the US as the Soundabout, and in the UK, it was called the Stowaway.
Even the logo has gone through changes over the years. Here’s the very first one with little feet on it.
By 1983 Sony stepped up the game with the WM-20 which they called the Walkman 2. With it came the ability to actually record onto a Walkman for the first time. But it was also a massive leap ahead in other ways. It was about the same size as a cassette case, making it the smallest cassette recorder of its time. And for the first time ever, Sony introduced color options for the Walkman.
In addition to the WM-20, the eighties marked the beginning of the super recognizable Sport Walkman, the bright yellow Walkman we all know and love. The Sport Walkman didn’t just add an armband, it was also made of impact resistant, ABS plastic and the controls were protected by runner seals to make them splash proof. See more information here.
Walkman CD Player
The Sport Walkman was just one of the many different models Sony released in the eighties. By 1986, the word Walkman had entered the Oxford English Dictionary. Now during all this, CDs were making their way into people’s homes and cars and by the nineties, the CD Walkman and Discman started to arrive to popularity.
The Discman went through a lot of evolution in the nineties, not just getting smaller and lighter, but also adding new and improved technology, like G-protection, anti-skipping technology which made listening on the go possible in the same high activity situations as the cassette Walkman.
Expansion of MP3
By 2001, Sony created the first Walkman specifically for the digital age. The MZ-N1. This little guy supported high-speed transfer files directly from your computer and 28 hours of playback life.
Unfortunately, it would only support the popular MP3 format with conversion to Sony’s required proprietary ATRAC. Poor reception of that device led Sony to rethink their strategy paving the way for the open format support you see now in their current line up of Walkman players. And to this day, the Walkman is still going strong, still innovating and always pushing the boundaries of person audio.
The New Stereo
So here we are back in the present and this is what the Walkman looks like today. What we have here is the S-series which is about a 100 bucks for an eight gig model, or for $20 more you can double the memory at 16 gigs. It’s pretty cool, it’s got the stereo speakers built right in there and of course, like most Sony products, it’s got a ton of different color options, pink, black, red, this is the purple right now. And there’s a ton of audio and video file support, so AVC, MPEG-4, WMV. You can drop files from iTunes, Windows Media Player or even Internet Explorer, or any other app that has non DRM content.
It’s got a really good battery life, up to 42 hours of music or up to six and a half hours of video playback on one charge. Here’s a great little user quote, “Overall, this was the best purchase I’ve ever made. I’ve been looking to buy an iPod to make my workouts more enjoyable, but I didn’t like the price points that they’re at right now. Began looking towards MP3 players and found this was the exact one I was looking for at just the right price. I love my Walkman.”
Okay, let’s take a look at the Walkman W which looks much different than the S Series. So this one is a smaller, sport-oriented model that fits all its storage and technology inside the earpieces. The left and right sides you can see here are magnetically linked. In addition, when they’ve joined together a magnetic sensor automatically pauses or stops playback. You got two gigabytes of internal storage and also what’s really cool is it’s got a three minute quick-charge mode, so you don’t have enough time to fully charge it, you can get up to 90 minutes of battery life just by charging it for three minutes which is great because I never remember to plug my gadgets in.
Also, in response to customer feedback, the W Series is now water and sweat resistant. The engineering team really-designed it this way after hearing comments the previous model could not withstand sweat and moisture from hard workouts, so that’s awesome.
So now you know that when you leave comments on Sony’s site. It does pay off because they’re listening to you and they do wanna make things better.
This is not over
Well, I think we covered quite a bit here on the Walkman today, but we still wanna hear from you. You probably have a ton of stories to share about the Walkman and we would love to hear about them. So contact us.
Tell us about your first Walkman experience to get your very own Metal Gear Solid W Series Walkman for free. You can find the official giveaway rules and the deadline at the web address we’ve got up on the screen.