Walkman finally buried by Sony

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
After three decades and more than 220 million units, Sony has stopped selling its Walkman cassette player in Japan, the company said, admitting the gadget could not keep up in the digital age.

Cherished by a generation of joggers, school children and music fans since its launch in 1979, the Walkman revolutionised the way people listened to music but has since been overtaken by another icon of the modern era -- the iPod.

"The music-listening style of our customers has shifted so much to digital audio," Sony spokeswoman Hiroko Nakamura told AFP. "We have decided to end shipments because demand for the cassette-type Walkman has decreased."

Models on the company's Japanese website were marked "production completed".

The consumer electronics giant said that Chinese-made Walkman cassette players would still be exported to markets such as North America, Europe and Asia.

The July 1, 1979 rollout of the portable cassette player helped transform Sony into a global electronics powerhouse.

The Japanese giant sold 30,000 Walkmans in the first two months after its launch, and 50 million within a decade.

Three decades on, however, Sony has found itself struggling against rivals such as Apple, which has enjoyed immense success with its iPod music player.

Times have changed since Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara sketched out designs for the Walkman by hand.
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