End of an Era

Remember the Walkman?

On October 22, Sony announced it will stop manufacturing and selling these devices in Japan – after 30 years. Sony says the final lot was shipped to retailers in April this year, and once the last units are sold, there will be no cassette Walkmans from Sony anymore.

The first Walkman was produced in 1979 and went on sale in Japan on July 1 that year. It started a music revolution and soon everyone wanted one.  Sony says that they managed to sell over 400 million Walkmans worldwide until March 2010, and exactly 200,020,000  of those were cassette-based models.

The Walkman was the brainchild of Nobutoshi Kihara, an engineer in the audio division at Sony. He had been asked by his chairman, Akio Morita, to design a device that would help the executive to pass the time on his frequent business trips, and enable him to listen to his favorite operas.

When the first Walkman first came to Singapore, I quickly got one – it was called the Soundabout – after listening to one at Ali’s Electricals at Centrepoint. I was in my 20’s then and at that time I thought it was so cool to have one of those gadgets.

We’ve certainly come a long way.

Later, when newer models emerged, I gave my first Walkman to a colleague. Oh how I wish I haven’t done that. I would love to have it back just for old times’ sake.

Jack formerly from DNC, if you’re reading this, please contact me. I’ll buy it back! You name the price.

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