Thursday, November 26, 2009

Evolution of the Walkman

I bought my first Walkman in the mid-90s. It was a great player and one that changed the way I listened to music forever (sorry I can't remember the model number). It even had a microphone attachment thingy that I used to interview people for a school project. I wasn't loyal to the brand though. My first portable CD player for example was a Panny and so was my first MiniDisc player (SJ-MJ70).

My dabble with the Walkman brand continued with Sony's line of extremely sleek and portable MiniDisc players (the 100 hour battery life MZ-E900 was my favourite - in fact I had two of them). MD may be derided in North America, but it was a success in Europe and Asia. Hell, as late as last year large supermarket chains in the UK were still selling MiniDisc blanks, so please US-centric blogs spare us your condescending opinions. When I finally decided to freecycle my blanks two years ago it wasn't difficult to find anyone willing to collect them. In fact I had to divide up my collection in batches and give it out equally.

Sony had been a bit slow and behind when it came to their digital players though. The first DAP Walkman I owned was the A818 - which in many ways was close to perfect. It was a no-nonsense player, with an intuitive UI and usable button system, is drag-and-drop compatible, highly pocketable and offers a great battery life. The S630 and S730 series were merely a natural progression of the A810, and the X-series blew me (and judging by your comments, you readers as well) away when it came to the sound quality.

Sony are on a roll when it comes to their reinvigorate Walkman brand. Unfortunately their marketing team seems to operate in a 1990s fashion. Where is that A840 that was released in Japan some time ago? Judging by the comments on this blog and many others, many are waiting to hand over their hard earned cash for it. So why is Sony Europe dilly dallying in releasing what could be their best ever Walkman model over here, in a year that is obviously historically important to the brand?

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