Sony officially stopped mass production of the cassette Walkman in 2010, but production had continued on a small scale in China to accommodate users in the United States and Europe. In January 2013 it will cease all production of the cassette Walkman.
Walking into history: The Sony Walkman with some of its modern counterparts.
The cassette Walkman was the world's first low-cost portable stereo and went on sale in Japan in 1979. It was invented by Nobutoshi Kihara, an engineer in the audio division at Sony. He had been asked by his chairman to design a device that would help him pass the time on his frequent business trips, and enable him to listen to his favourite operas. Sony has since sold over 200 million Walkmans.
Sony’s cassette Walkmans were hugely popular in the 1980’s. Sales began to decline with the invention of Sony’s portable CD player, the Discman, and its range of MiniDisc players.
The final nail in the Walkman coffin was the introduction of the iPod and MP3 players that played digitally-stored music.
However, the demise of the cassette Walkman is not the end of the Walkman brand. Sony still retains the brand name and now uses it on its MP3 players.