writes "Crunchgear reports that after selling 200,020,000 units worldwide since its inception over thirty years ago, Sony has announced that it is pulling the plug on the manufacture and sales of the Walkman, the world's first portable (mass-produced) stereo. Magnetic cassette technology had been around since 1963, when Philips first created it for use by secretaries and journalists, but on July 1, 1979, Sony Corp. introduced the Sony Walkman TPS-L2, a 14 ounce, blue-and-silver, portable cassette player with chunky buttons, headphones, a leather case, and a second earphone jack so that two people could listen in at once. The Walkman was originally introduced in the US as the 'Sound-About' and in the UK as the 'Stowaway,' but coming up with new, uncopyrighted names in every country it was marketed in proved costly so Sony eventually decided on 'Walkman' as a play on the Sony Pressman, a mono cassette recorder the first Walkman prototype was based on. The popularity of Sony's device — and those by brands like Aiwa, Panasonic and Toshiba who followed in Sony's lead — helped the cassette tape outsell vinyl records for the first time in 1983 as Sony continued to roll out variations on its theme with over 300 different Walkman models, adding such innovations as AM/FM receivers, bass boost, and auto-reverse on later models and even producing a solar-powered Walkman, water-resistant Sport Walkman, and Walkmen with two cassette drives."
For now, at least, the Walkman brand
lives on for some of Sony's media players and phones.