Sony has shipped the last cassette tape Walkmans to vendors (Crunchgear), according to multiple media outlets. It’s surprising that the Walkman was produced for this long: the very first Sony Walkman appeared in 1979 and was an instant hit. In today’s portable electronic devices market, Sony is sadly not a leading company anymore.
In the early 80s, I walked around with (non)-Sony portable cassette players: I think the only time I actually bought a Sony was a few years before I left for Canada, a thing I regretted instantly as I had already been moving to MD players. My very first ‘Walkman’ was an Erres (rather an Erres-branded Phillips thing): I’m not sure how much it cost those days or how I got the money to buy one. I think right after the Erres, I jumped on the Aiwa bandwagon: the very first one I bought was the one shown above. I didn’t know that Aiwa’s largest shareholder was Sony: In the early 2000s, Aiwa slowly slid to bankruptcy and was eventually bought up by Sony.
Anyway, there were good memories of having a walkman: one of them is that even back in the 80s news outlets reported that ‘more and more teenagers were getting deaf because of the use of walkmans’. They say that these days of iPods and MP3 players also. If you play loud music, of course you’re susceptible to getting deaf, but it seems that the media sometimes just sound like moral preachers stuck in repeating the same story every 10 years.
Amazon came out with an electronic book called the ‘Kindle’. The regular news sources are mixed about this device. For a company the size of Amazon and the business they’re in (selling books, originally) it makes perfect sense. I’m only not sure about that mini-keyboard that comes with it, which gives the initial impression that it is actually a stripped-down computer. Ars has an excellent review of this device. No question about it: this device runs a Linux flavour (I noticed the Java logo in one of the product manuals). This device can currently only be sold and shipped within the US.
Earlier, Sony released their 2nd generation Reader, originally named the PRS-505. Notice that both the Kindle and the PRS seem to use the same screen technology (E Ink). Ars Technica also reviewed this device (last week, actually). You can actually buy this device from Amazon (US$ 299). Both readers allow non-DRM material to be downloaded. However, both readers seem to support (or push) their own DRM-enabled file formats too, as both companies have their devices tie in to their own (online) bookstores. I’m not sure if Sony will make it in this battle for readers (After all, it’s all about the amount of books, I guess and at this stage, it looks like Amazon has the bigger share). The Sony Reader does indeed run Linux and the source code to it can be downloaded right from the Sony site.
As an aside, there’s an article at The Morning News that is hilarious: what happens if you let kids design laptops? Some of these kids-friendly laptops even come with the much-needed ‘Math button’. Imagine that: as a 70s kid, I thought calculators were going to solve all our math problems.
It’s a Walkman.
While watching ‘The Mosquito Coast’ last night, we noticed that ms. Plimpton was carrying the ultimate device of the Eighties, a genuine Sony Walkman. The one and only, and available in one size: Mega. As in big.
Back in the days, I walked with one of those big-sized too, different brand but probably just as heavy.