Walkman is a brand name used by Sony for many of its audio and video electronics. It goes back to 1979 when Sony first marketed a Walkman device in the Japanese territory. Elsewhere in the world it was known as the Soundabout and the Stowaway. The term "Walkman" is one of the best known household-brands particular because of what impact it had on the listening habits of music consumers. The cassette based Walkman is legendary and many homes still have one lying around gathering dust somewhere.
Evolutions of the term Walkman include Discman, which is what Sony branded its CD-Audio devices (a term that was later dropped in the late 90s). While the term Walkman still reminds many of the small black players that could play cassette tapes (called Walkman whether it was a Sony brand device or not) and some could record, Sony has tried to change that image in recent years by bringing the Walkman brand to the digital era. Sony's line-up of digital audio players sport the Walkman brand, but even with its fame as a brand name, these models have tough competition and cant keep up with the likes of Apple's iPod.
The old cassette-based Walkman was pushed aside when Sony offered newer technologies such as MiniDisc and Discman. Sony's line of Walkman digital audio players originally didn't support the prominent MP3 format, but instead opted for Sony's proprietaryATRAC and ATRAC3 formats. The Walkman brand has also been used with multimedia phones from Sony Ericsson.
Please also view our Glossary entries for..
- ATRAC Advanced Lossless
- Lossy Compression
- Lossless Compression
Sony to dump Connect music service - (August 31st, 2007)
Sony acknowledged that its proprietary ATRAC music format was a market flop by shutting down all its Connect music stores and making its devices compatible with other formats.
>Walkman powered with sugar-based bio battery - (August 26th, 2007)
In an experiment, Sony showed a Walkman being powered by a suger-based bio battery.
Sony kills off ATRAC and SonicStage with latest MP3 player - (April 28th, 2007)
The Sony B100 series of portable MP3 players killed off the ATRAC format.
Sony unveils new Walkman, hints iPod challenger - (October 12th , 2006)
Sony unveiled several flash-memory based, Walkman-branded digital audio players.
Sony admits ATRAC was a mistake - (January 23rd, 2005)
Ken Kutaragi has stated that Sony has missed out on the sales of MP3 players and other gadgets by sticking to proprietary formats such as ATRAC.
Sony to add MP3 support to its portable music players - (September 23rd, 2004)
Sony confirmed plans to add MP3 support to its players, loosening its reliance on the proprietary ATRAC format.
Sony Connect music service launched - (May 5th, 2004)
Sony opened its Connect music service which used the ATRAC format for downloadable music files.