Sony has announced that it has ceased production of cassette based Walkmans in Japan. The final batch was manufactured in April 2010, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. It will still continue to use the brand on CD, Minidisc and flash-based models.
Of course, what’s most remarkable about this news is that Sony was still making cassette Walkmans at all. It says an awful lot about the success of the brand that it has only called it a day some 31 years after the first one was produced.
The Walkman brand created the concept of music on the move and Sony said that it has sold over 400 million Walkmans to date. The first model shipped on 1 July 1979 in Japan and made its way over to Europe under the US later that year, initially under the Freestyle brand in Sweden, and the Stowaway in the UK, but by the time the second model was introduced the Walkman brand had been standardised.
However, Apple has already sold 275 million iPods up to September 2010, so we can predict that Cupertino’s effort is likely to surpass Sony's figure.
We’re actually also surprised that Sony still makes Minidisc Walkmans – a format that was a superb replacement for the cassette, that shone brightly in the late nineties, but the arrival of the iPod in 2001 rendered it essentially obsolete.
OK, so you may be feeling smug now iPods, but will you still be being made in 2032?
Click here for an in-depth feature on the history of portable music.