Sony retires the Walkman cassette player after 30 years

26 Oct 2010

The cassette-playing Walkman is no more after Sony decided to stop manufacturing the ground-breaking device in Japan after more than 30 years.

The move comes just months after Sony scrapped production of the iconic floppy disc. Sony began manufacturing the portable music device in 1979 and heralded a new era of music lifestyle and in that time more than 200 million devices were sold.

When the Walkman debuted, only 3,000 were sold in the first month but Sony persevered and marketed the device aggressively at the youth market and it took hold.

The company decided that after shipping five models at the end of April, once inventories ran out that was it.

It is understood that the cassette player will continue to be sold in overseas markets.

It’s a testament to the technology that it survived until now, what with the onset of the compact disc player, the mini-disc player, MP3 players and even the Apple iPod, which marked its ninth anniversary at the weekend.

The Walkman brand continues to live on however, as Sony finally got to grips with creating a singular user experience for portable media devices and selling music online. The Walkman brand continues to be a feature of various music devices, as well as being the key player on all Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years