What was the Original Name of the Sony Walkman?

Time for some Tech Trivia!

Remember this old guy?

Since its public announcement on June 21, 1979, the Sony Walkman has become synonymous to Mobile Music if not Music itself. In fact, Oxford English Dictionary has listed "Walkman" as a formal word used to describe any cassette player. Obviously, the Walkman has transcended being just a gadget into becoming a lifestyle icon.

But do you know the history of Sony Walkman?

Sony's first attempt at personal tape player was the TC-D5 released in 1978. Unfortunately, not only was it very expensive at $1,000 per unit, it was also a tad heavy to be carried with no hassles. Heck, even Mr. Ibuka, Sony's Honorary Chairman then - who was fond of using TC-D5 on his trips - found it heavy! So he instructed the personal tape player division to create something smaller.

The division turned to the Pressman, an earlier expensive Sony portable radio with record function designed for reporters, as inspiration. It was light and as such, very portable. The team removed the record function and added stereophonic sound. Mr Morita, Sony's Chairman during that time, saw the product and instructed the team to make sure that it will be affordable, should they decide to mass produce it. And voila, the Walkman prototype was born!

But the product wasn't immediately tagged as WalkMan. Morita was skeptical about that name. In fact, he hated it -- thinking it won't catch up in US and Europe -- and that it sounds like a literal Japanese translation! "Walky" was the leading peg (for some strange reason) but thankfully, they stayed with WalkMan as none of the other options were as sharp and memorable and that a promotion campaign had already begun using it and would be too expensive to change.


So if you'd ask me, "What was the Original Name of the Sony Walkman?", I'd tell you that it is Sony Walkman. And it will remain that way for many more years to come. After all, the Walkman has proven that it is more than capable of adapting to ever-changing tech times.

Enter your email address to subscribe to TechPinas:

No comments:

Let me know your thoughts on this TechPinas article.