Walkman: Wikis

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Sony Walkman Official Logo (2000 — present)
Sony Walkman WM-2 with plastic battery case and beltclip (1980).
Various products of the Walkman line
Sony Walkman SRF-S84 transistor radio (released 2001), without earbuds

Walkman is a Sony brand originally used for portable audio cassette, and now used to market Sony's portable audio and video players as well as a line of its mobile phones. The original Walkman introduced a change in music listening habits by allowing people to carry music with them.

The device was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-chairman Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips.[1] The original Walkman was marketed in 1979 as the Walkman in Japan, the Soundabout in many other countries including the US, Freestyle in Sweden and the Stowaway in the UK.[2] Morita hated the name "Walkman" and asked that it be changed, but relented after being told by junior executives that a promotion campaign had already begun using the brand name and that it would be too expensive to change.[1]

The names "Walkman", "Pressman", "Watchman", "Scoopman", "Discman", and "Talkman" are trademarks of Sony, and have been applied to a wide range of portable entertainment devices manufactured by the company. Sony continues to use the "Walkman" brand name for most of their portable audio devices, after the "Discman" name for CD players was dropped in the late 1990s. According to Sony, the plural form is "Walkman Personal Stereos", rather than "Walkmans" or "Walkmen".[3]

In March 2007, Sony extended the brand by launching its first all-digital, flash-based video Walkman, the A800 series, where A stands for "All in one, Advanced, and Attractive".[4]

Contents

History and design

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Cassette-based walkman

Walkman TPS-L2 (1979)

The blue-and-silver Walkman TPS-L2 (the first commercially available Walkman) went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979. In the UK, it came with stereo playback and mini headphone jacks, permitting two people to listen at the same time (though it came with only one pair of MDR-3L2 headphones.). Where the Pressman had the recording button, the Walkman had a "hotline" button which activated a small built-in microphone (the Pressman), partially overriding the sound from the cassette, and allowing one user to talk to the other over the music. The dual jacks and "hotline" button were phased out in the follow-up Walkman II model.

Walkman WM-D6C Pro (1984)

Some devices were also capable of recording. The highest quality Sony Walkman recording cassette deck was the Walkman Professional WM-D6C. It was introduced in 1984, and became an instant success because of its long battery life. Its audio quality left something to be desired when compared with professional audio equipment, but its portability and low price countered this notion. Many magazines began to compare it with non-portable cassette decks. Unusual for a portable device, the Walkman Professional had bright LED recording level meters and manual control of recording levels. It was equipped with quartz direct drive capstan, and amorphous head. Powered by local AC mains or by 4 AA batteries (compared with 2 for most Walkman models), it was widely used by journalists and developed a following among hi-fi enthusiasts; unusual for a consumer-electronics product, it was in production, unchanged, for almost 20 years. One of Henry Rollins' early spoken word CDs was recorded with a Walkman Pro.

Amid fierce competition, primarily from Toshiba (the Walky), Aiwa (the CassetteBoy) and Panasonic, by the late 80s, Sony upped the ante once again by creating the playback-only WM-DD9, launched in 1989 during the 10th anniversary of the Walkman (five years after the WM-D6C) and became the holy grail for a niche group of cassette Walkman collectors. It is the only auto-reverse Walkman in history to use a two-motor, quartz-locked, disc drive system similar to high-end home cassette decks to ensure accurate tape speed for both sides of playback (only one motor operates at a time depending on the side of the tape being played). Power consumption was improved by requiring only either one AA battery or one gumstick-type rechargeable, with optional AC adaptor input. It is also equipped with a tight gap amorphous tape head capable of reproducing the full 20–20,000 Hz frequency range, a gold plated headphone jack, and a 2 mm thick aluminum body. Sony made this model with only sound quality in mind, therefore it contains no gimmick features such as in-line remote control, music search, or LCD readout. Its only features are Dolby B/C noise reduction decoding, Mega Bass/DBB bass boost, tape type select, and two auto reverse modes.

Walkman WM-EX170 (1998)

By the late 1990s, the cassette-based Walkman was generally passed over in favor of the emerging digital technologies of CD, DAT and MiniDisc. After 2000, cassette-based Walkman products (and their clones) were approaching technological obsolescence as the cassette format was gradually phased out. However, Sony still continues to make cassette-based Walkman personal stereos today.

Every five years since the Walkman personal stereo was born in 1979 until 1999, Sony would celebrate by coming out with an anniversary cassette model on July 1. Each anniversary model carries a different theme while retaining some characteristics of previous anniversary models: WM-701S (user friendliness theme with remote control and slim sterling silver plated body — 1989), WM-EX1HG (efficiency theme with long battery life and pop-up eject — 1994), WM-WE01 (wireless theme with cordless remote control and cordless earphones — 1999). However, cassette Walkman innovation would come to an end as during its 25th Anniversary, Sony chose to not introduce another limited run cassette model but instead, brought out the hard disk based NW-HD1 in 2004 to officially augur the death of the compact cassette. (Sony did release two anniversary models in 2003, but they were MiniDisc players — see below.) The last play-only cassette Walkman to be introduced (in North America, at least) was the WM-FX290, first sold in 2002, which also featured digital tuning, AM, FM, TV and weather band radio, operating on a single AA battery. In Canada, at least (where, like all portable radios distributed in that country, the WM-FX290 lacked access to TV and weather bands) this device appears to have ceased production as of May, 2006. In August 2006, Sony Canada began selling cassette Walkmans again, but this time they were only offering a basic model, the WM-FX197.

Until early 2009, in spite of the decline of the cassette-based Walkmans, logically operated deluxe models (WM-GX788 etc) had been available in a very few countries, especially in South Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. These models supported a so-called gumstick-type rechargeable battery, offered relatively better sound quality than cheaper models did, and had an automatic tape position selector and auto-reverse function. As of spring 2009, all tape Walkmans except the WM-EX651 have been discontinued in South Korea. In Japan, only a few cheap models (WM-GX202 etc) remain. Many people no longer use cassette tapes for music listening and, in a few countries, cassette tapes are only used for language learning, which is now significantly declining thanks to podcasts from BBC or CNN or trends of (foreign-language learning) publishers which adopt MP3 file services or attached CDs rather than attaching tapes to their publications.

Stereobelt

A portable personal stereo audio cassette player, called Stereobelt, was first invented by the German-Brazilian Andreas Pavel in 1972. Pavel filed a patent for his Stereobelt in Italy in 1977, followed by patent applications in the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan by the end of 1978. His patent applications in the U.S. and the U.K. were rejected.[5]

In 1979, Sony began selling the popular Walkman, and in 1980 started legal talks with Pavel regarding a royalty fee. In 1986 Sony finally agreed to pay royalties to Pavel, but only for sales in Germany, and only for a few models, and refused to acknowledge him as the inventor of the device.[5]

In 2001, Pavel threatened Sony with legal suits in every country in which he had patented his invention. The corporation agreed to resume talks with Pavel and a settlement was finally reached in 2003. The exact settlement fee is a closely guarded secret but European press accounts said that Pavel received a cash settlement for damages in excess of $10,000,000 and is now also receiving royalties on some Walkman sales. The settlement also includes a clause which will prevent Pavel from bringing future law suits.[5]

The settlement grants Pavel the recognition from Sony that he was the original inventor of the personal stereo[5]; this apparently could only be achieved after the death of Morita, the founder of Sony and its previously recognised creator.

However, because of Sony's strong publicity, the word Walkman is now part of pop culture, and is used more often than the generic term "personal stereo" or the relatively unknown Stereobelt.

CD Walkman (Discman)

The first CD based Walkman was initially launched in 1984 — the D-50 (D-5 in some markets). It was officially called the 'Discman', and this name has since been used informally to refer to such players. In recent years, Sony has dropped the Discman name and markets all its personal stereos under the Walkman brand.

Later Discman models featured ESP (Electronic Skip Protection), which pre-read the music from the CD into on-board memory and formed a type of buffer to prevent the CD skipping when the player was moved. The technology was since renamed 'G-Protection' and features a larger memory area, providing additional protection against skipping.

For years, the Discman and MD Walkman were successes in the marketplace. However, newer technologies, such as flash memory and hard drive-based digital audio players have caused the CD- and MD-based Walkman to lose popularity.

Sony still makes CD Walkmans — the newer models are capable of playing ATRAC3, ATRAC3plus, and MP3 CDs, and have become progressively thinner and more compact with each revision.

Video Walkman

The Sony GV-8 Video Walkman was introduced in 1989. It played Video 8 format tape cassettes, showing them on a 3 inch diagonal color screen. The GV-8 included a TV receiver for VHF and UHF channels. It was 5 x 8 x 2 1/2 inches and weighed two and a half pounds. The rechargeable battery lasted from 45 minutes to one hour depending on usage.[6]

MiniDisc Walkman

MD Walkman

Initially the MiniDisc was comparable to a miniaturised CD, capable of storing up to 74 minutes of near CD-quality audio on a disc roughly two-thirds the size of a CD. Today MiniDiscs can hold data files as well as music, with the ability to record and reproduce audio in CD-quality (without ATRAC lossy compression).

MiniDiscs come in a plastic caddy protecting the disc's surface from dust and scratches. MiniDisc Walkmans are able to play and record MiniDiscs from digital and analogue sources, such as live audio from their microphone inputs. The first unit on the market, the MZ-1 was relatively large and unpocketable, but following model, MZ-R2, and subsequent MD Walkmans are quite compact, with today's MiniDisc Walkmans not much larger than the discs themselves.

Gradual improvements were made to MiniDisc Walkmans through the years. The addition of MDLP (MiniDisc LongPlay) codec allowed up to 4 times the amount of music to be stored on one MiniDisc, at the sacrifice of some sound quality. NetMD followed. In 2004, Hi-MD was introduced, enabling computer files as well as CD-quality audio to be recorded on the discs for the first time. By 2005, Sony had relaxed the restrictions in its SonicStage software to allow unrestricted digital transfers to and from Hi-MD and the computer.

NetMD

Sony expanded MiniDisc's possibilities with the introduction of NetMD (NetworkMD). These allowed the use of a PC to convert music from CDs or MP3s into ATRAC3 format, and use a USB cable to transfer the music to the MiniDisc at a much faster rate than was possible when using a line-in cable.

The MZ-N10 was released in 2002. It was Sony's '10th Anniversary' product, released 10 years after the introduction of the MiniDisc format in 1992. The case was made from a magnesium alloy, and the unit featured a built-in lithium-ion battery which provided 24 hours of battery life. The MZ-N10 allowed music to be transferred from a PC at up to 64 times actual playback speed, not including the time required for audio re-encoding. It was also the first MD Walkman to incorporate the ATRAC DSP TYPE S codec, and is today (2006) the lightest recording MD Walkman ever produced. The accompanying 10th anniversary playback-only MiniDisc Walkman, the MZ-E10, was also released. It is the lightest MD Walkman ever produced, weighing 55 g (including built-in rechargeable battery) with a thickness of 9.9 mm.

Hi-MD

In 2004, Sony introduced the Hi-MD format. Hi-MD Walkmans use 1 GB Hi-MD discs in the same form-factor as regular MiniDiscs, and allow 1 GB of files and/or audio to be stored per disc. They also accept regular MiniDiscs, which can be initialized in Hi-MD mode for 305 MB capacity per disc (with the added ability to store audio and data, like Hi-MD discs).

Unlike NetMD, Hi-MD Walkmans allow two-way digital transfers to and from PCs virtually unrestricted. Hi-MD also allows the option to record and transfer audio in lossless linear PCM on standard MiniDiscs and Hi-MD discs. This offers sound quality equal to CD (as opposed to lossy ATRAC codecs used on standard MiniDisc/ NetMD).

Hi-MD Walkmans introduced from 2005 onwards allow direct playback of MP3s without the need to transcode the MP3s to ATRAC format. However, SonicStage is required for transfer and encryption onto the disc itself. Playable audio cannot be transferred to the devices without SonicStage.

Network Walkman

Initially the Network Walkman was a series of digital music players that used flash memory to hold their data. The players used Sony's proprietary ATRAC format, and were available in a number of capacities, up to 1 GB. The first of these Walkmans was the NW-MS7 which had a removable 64MB MagicGate Memorystick. At the time of its release (1999) it then boasted NW-MS70D as the smallest MP3 player on the market. After the runaway success of Apple Computer's hard-drive based iPod, Sony lost much of the portable digital audio market to the iPod and similar devices from other companies. Their main downfall[citation needed] would be Sony's stubborn resistance to supporting the ubiquitous MP3 codec in their early players and many users found it frustrating to convert their MP3 music collection to ATRAC3 for use on the Network Walkman, while Apple's iPod supported MP3 out of the box and came with the superior iTunes software.

NW-MS7

The NW-MS7 was released towards the mid of 1999 as Sony's first hit at the portable music player industry. They produce this first model shipping with a white 64MB MagicGate Memorystick and built-in battery, selling aside with NW-E3(32MB built-in and uses AAA battery) and had unfortunately released this which the memory is not enough for most people, and needed to transfer songs with bundled software OpenMG Jukebox(only works with Win98SE and later known as SonicStage). Later they produced upgrades NW-MS9/MS11 bundled with 64MB/128MB and uses a Gumstick type battery, and then the NW-MS70D with 256MB built-in, however at the same time as Apple released the iPod. NW-MS70D had 256MB of built-in flash memory. It could also be expanded by its MagicGate MemoryStick Duo port. But at the time, the Memory Stick PRO Duo had not been released yet. So therefore the NW-MS70D could only yield 384MB at any one time. The other downside to it was that it was incredibly expensive, costing as much as a 15 GB iPod. It also used a very buggy software, Sonicstage, and only played Atrac3, Atrac3plus and WAV files. However, it was the smallest digital audio player at that time. It was also solidly built with a magnesium alloy shell. It boasted a 44 hour battery life. Despite a heavy marketing campaign, its sales were limited.

NW-MS90D

The replacement model, the NW-MS90D, used the same software as NW-MS70D, and yielded a maximum of 640 MB at any one time, but was also extremely expensive. The most eminent change was the 512 MB inbuilt memory and its new black shell. Due to its price and limited capacity, it was still largely ignored by the general public.

ATRAC HDD Walkman

NW-HD1

Sony's first attempt at equalling the iPod's success was the NW-HD1, which was smaller and was advertised as having better sound quality than the iPod at the time. However, the unit would only play Sony's proprietary format, ATRAC3 — whereas other players on the market would play the much more widely used MP3 format without having to be converted to ATRAC3. Sony did upgrade the HD1 to play mp3s but it still needed Sonicstage to transfer the files. The PC conversion software, SonicStage, was also buggy, and the player's control system was not as user-friendly as it could have been. The NW-HD1 did not sell as well as Sony had hoped. Its successors, the NW-HD3 and NW-HD4 have also failed to make a major dent in the iPod's sales.

NW-HD3

Sony Walkman NW-HD3

The successor to the hard disk-based NW-HD1, the NW-HD3 was a very similar design — however, despite the fact that the unit would play MP3s natively, the PC software was still buggy, and the unit was therefore equally poorly received.

NW-HD5

Sony's next model, the NW-HD5, was an updated design from the HD1 / HD3, and boasted a simpler control system, a user-removable lithium-ion battery, better file format compatibility, a unique "Follow Turn Display" that would automatically align itself based on how the player was held on startup, and updated software. A main feature was its advertised running time of 40 hours, when using low-quality format settings, i.e., 48 kbit/s ATRAC3 files, and no player-based audio enhancements (although the player does include these). Playback of 128 kbit/s mp3s was rated at 30 hours. The player was available in black, silver and red and was not sold in the Canadian market.

Unfortunately, the NW-HD5 was shipped with a cosmetic design flaw which meant that the buttons developed small visible cracks under their plastic coating. Although this did not affect functionality, many customers complained. Sony United Kingdom Limited allowed owners to send the units back to be re-fitted with slightly raised, crack-resistant buttons. Perhaps because of this problem, the NW-HD5 was on the market for a very short time before being pulled in preparation for the next model.

In January 2006, the NW-HD5 became unavailable as a normal purchase from retail electronics stores and was relegated to online auction sites and used-electronics warehouses as a consumer item. Eventually the whole of the Network Walkman line would be discontinued for Sony's new solution.

Walkman MP3 player

Overview

The name Walkman MP3 is not entirely correct since there were a few previous Sony Walkmans which also supported MP3, for example the hard-disk based NW-HD5. Nevertheless, this generation marked the inclusion of popular codecs such as MP3, AAC and WMA. Walkman MP3 players reside in the same Network Walkman group.

Some hardware changes include the exclusion of stick remote control and the usage of new connector for charging, accessories and data transferring. Starting with the NW-S series, Walkmans feature Sony's new proprietary port called WM-PORT which is a USB 2.0 compliant 22-pin connector. Another notable hardware change is a color screen which can display album art. These models also use new power management features which give the device a three-hour battery life after only three minutes of charging.
NW-A series models still use the previous connector and can still use the stick remote control.

Early Releases

Some early releases in this category are players using flash memory as storage media. Sony called them Portable IC Audio Player. These release include the Walkman Core (NW-E50X and NW-E60X series), the Walkman Circ (NW-E10X series), and the Walkman Bean (NW-E20X and NW-E30X series). All of these lines have OLED screens. They are not using WM-PORT and support MP3, WMA and ATRAC format only.

HDD NW-A Series Walkman

Sony NW-A1000 6GB MP3 Player

The NW-A series Walkman is a digital music player available in 6 (NW-A1000), 8 (NW-A1200) and 20 gigabyte (NW-A3000) versions and features an EL-technology screen. Battery life can reach 20 and 35 hours respectively. The player supports ATRAC3, MP3, WMA and from firmware version 3.00 it also supports AAC.[7]

The primary means of putting music on this device is to use Sony software: SonicStage and Connect Player (now withdrawn due to too many problems). The software only works on Microsoft Windows. Other common platforms such as Mac OS and Linux are not supported. SonicStage has received much criticism. It is only possible to move tracks from the music player to the PC's hard drive, and thereby from one music player to another, if each device/computer is "authorized" to the user's account with the Connect Store for their country. Users from countries that do not have the Connect Store service are currently limited to one device/computer.

There are a number of features to select music according to a variety of criteria. The "Artist link" function prompts the Walkman to search, find and display similar artists in that genre. There are two new shuffle modes. By selecting "My Favourite Shuffle", the device automatically selects the 100 most listened to songs and plays them at random. The "Time Machine Shuffle" function randomly selects a year and plays all of the songs from that particular year currently held on the device. A recent firmware update (V3.00) added the "Artist Link Shuffle" function to the list of Intelligent Shuffle modes, along with a clock and calendar.

Symphonic is an open-source platform-independent alternative to Sony software that supports Network Walkmans.[8]

Flash-based NW-D series Walkman

Released in July 2007, this was a line of 1 GB (NWD-B103/B103F) and 2 GB (NWD-B105/105F) multifunction MP3 player and voice recording function. It was the firm's first-ever MP3 player to be liberated from the SonicStage software, but it has been shorn of the ability to play back ATRAC and AAC music files.

The Auto-Transfer option allowed this Walkman to search for all the MP3 files on the PC and then copy these files directly to the Walkman. It also could record CDs directly from a Sony compatible Hifi system via USB connection without any PC (the NWD-B105 also supported WMA files).

It also came with a three-line colour display; the voice recorder (MP3) came with bit rates of low – 96 kb/s, mid – 128 kb/s and high – kb/s. Models with the built-in FM tuner ("F") had 30 preset stations with a frequency of 87.5 – 108.0 MHz, with the capability to record and play FM content. The five preset equaliser also had a custom setting option.

Flash Based NW-E Series Walkman

E series established itself as a pure MP3 player without large LCD display to play videos. It had a similar design to a USB flashdrive, and it provided a large collection of different colors. Specifically, E020 series released in Japanese domestic market features changeable case, making the color selection enormous.

In August 2006 Sony released the NW-E00X series, filled with 512MB, 1GB or 2GB of flash-memory. Very compact, this Walkman offered a battery life of up to 28 hours. It had a built-in USB key for easy file transfer. The battery charge/recharge was through USB connection. Also was equipped with a bright and clear 1 line OLED display for easy navigation. Dimensions were: width 24.6mm, height 79.0mm, depth 13.6mm and weight 25.0 grams.

Supported multiple codec ATRAC (ATRAC3 66 kbit/s, 105 kbit/s, 132 kbit/s, ATRAC3plus 48 kbit/s, 64 kbit/s, 256 kbit/s) MP3 and WMA (and later AAC), via SonicStage 3.4 software for music management and transfers of tracks for Windows.

This series also worked with Linux and Mac using the free software originally called NW-E00X MP3 File Manager, that eventually become in Symphonic, and now JSymphonic. JSymphonic is an open source, cross-platform program (that runs on any Windows/Linux/Mac machine with java 1.5 installed), that, once copied into the Walkman enables the transfer of several audio files, including MP3, to/from several flash based Walkman Series. It can be downloaded from here and is in continuous development.

In March 2007, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, some countries of Europe and Canada had the Walkman NW-E01X series (NW-E013, NW-E015 and NW-E016) a small USB flash player. Weighing only 23 g, the NW-E01X was available in capacities from 1 to 4 GB and came in five colors: pink, violet, teal, black, and gold. Its features included a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, built-in FM tuner, a three-line color OLED display, calendar and time function, and Clear Stereo and Clear Bass technologies to enhance the audio quality. A release date and pricing for the NW-E01X in the United States was also unknown.

The NW-E02X series, were released in Japan in March 2008. The memory sizes were 1GB for the NW-E023, 2GB for the NW-E025, and 4GB for the NW-E026. Each size was available in a five color assortment: white, pink, green, red, and black. The faces of the players were designed for admit changeable color and design templates. The supplied earbuds were the MDR-EX82 earphones in white for the white, pink, and green player and black for the red and black player.

These could play ATRAC, PCM, WMA, MP3, and AAC, (DRM'ed WMA and AAC couldn't be played). As in older models the connector, was the standard male USB. The screen was LCD and displayed three lines along with an optional album-jacket function. It had a five-band equalizer and Sony's "clear stereo" which means pre-set EQ function.

They had a built-in Li-Ion cell which had a quick-charge for approximately three hours playback from a 3-minute plug-in and a complete charge takes about one hour. Sony mentioned the capability of FM reception, (Japan band of 76 to 90 MHz), usually devices with an F at the end of the model number. Dimensions were 83.7 × 22.3 × 16.2mm and weigh 28 grams.

Available accessories for all E series included lanyards, armbands, A/C adapters, metallic and silicone cases.

Flash Based NW-S Series Walkman

NW S700 series with Noise Cancellation technology

The Sony "NW-S700" series is the first flash-based Network Walkman with built-in Active noise control technology. It blocks surrounding noise with integrating mic in its EX-earphone. This player is one of only a few other DAPs that have a noise cancellation feature at this size. The earphone has a proprietary design specifically made for this player, thus making it impossible to plug into other DAPs, even the ones that come from Sony. This Walkman has a small OLED screen capable displaying album art and some text information about the song and the player features. The S700 comes in 1 GB(NW-S703), 2 GB(NW-S705), and 4 GB(NW-S706) capacities; some countries sell the 2 GB and 1 GB models only. Selected models are also equipped with a Stereo FM Tuner.

Flash Based NW-Z Series Walkman

The Sony NWZ-A826 is one of many MP3 players belonging to the Walkman Z-series. This edition features 4GB flash memory, as well as a large 2.4 inch monitor; in addition the MP3 player offers several audio options in a housing with a thickness of 9.3 mm. The EX earplugs come packaged. There are four audio options: Clear Stereo, Clear Bass, VPT Surround and DSEE Sound Enhancer.The ear plugs are a combination of earplugs and a normal earset in one. The new Sony NWZ - S series offer 4GB and 16GB flash memory.

Walkman W series

Sony Walkman W series

The Sony Walkman W series is a wireless MP3 player with a 2GB memory. It is one of the smallest MP3 players.

Walkman Video MP3 Player

Overview

Walkman Video MP3 Player combined the music playback capability of current Walkman MP3 Player line with video. Sony decided to choose Memory Stick Video format (which actually is H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format) as standard for Walkman MP3 Video Player.

To further extend MP3 support, Sony moved to phase out the ATRAC format. In late August 2007, Sony released an email to customers of its Online Music Store (Connect) stating that Sony would shut down the service and begin to phase out the ATRAC codec on any future version of the Walkman portable device.[9] The email stated that Sony would adopt a Windows Media format; this plan was to be completed by March 2008, affecting customers and their Walkmans in the North American and European regions. This transition away from the ATRAC codec was to allow the Walkman line to be adopted by more potential customers and their specific and unique preferences on online music services. The product affected with this transition is NW-A8XX Series, which was actually released twice, the version with ATRAC and the one without.

NW-A800 series

The Sony NW-A800 series is a video-enabled Network Walkman player [1]. This series has a metallic build. A chrome-like strip surrounds the edge of the device, and accenting of the same style surrounds the buttons and makes up the logos on the front. It features a QVGA display with ID3 tag and album art support.

It is available in 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB capacities. The interface is similar to that of a mobile phone. The screen is a 2.0 inch QVGA (240x320) colour LCD and can be used either horizontally or vertically. The Lithium-ion rechargeable battery can last up to 30 hours for music and 8 hours for video.

The NW-A800 has been released in the European Union, Asia, New Zealand, and North America. As of 19 May 2007, Sony Canada [2] has released the 8GB and 4GB models. The 2GB model was released on 13 June 2007.

This player is an ATRAC Audio Device which relies on SonicStage to manage music. For photo and video management it uses Sony's Image Converter.

NW-A810 series

While hardware wise is the same as NW-A800, this series introduces some substantial changes in its media manager software. First, this player introduce drag and drop feature to transfer media. This update eliminates the need of Sony's proprietary SonicStage program and uses Windows Media Player instead. Also, this player no longer supports the ATRAC format.

NW-S710 and S610 series Walkman

Soon, Sony launched another series of Walkman video player, type S, standing for "specialized". This was considered as a lower end product to Walkman A series.

NW-A820, A910 series Walkman in Japan

At the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, Sony tried to further extend the product line of Walkman, with the debut of A910 series, A820 series. Among them, A910 and A820 should be the successor to A810, which feature larger LCD display and memory, and built-in wireless function (for A820 only).

The NW-A919, a 16GB video walkman with a digital '1seg' TV tuner. The player has a touch screen, measures 47.2mm×86.0mm×12.3mm and will be available in black or silver. It will be released in Japan in November 2007.[3]

NWZ-A820 and A720 series Walkman

In March 2008, Sony debuted A720 and A820 series in the United States. These two models seemed to have exactly the same external design. The only difference appeared that the A820 series was equipped with a Bluetooth module which can be used to connect wireless headphones. The upgraded A820 and A720 had a 2.4" LCD display and a selection of memory from 4 gigabytes to 16 gigabyte. This also includes the popular 8GB version. In some regions the package will contain a pair of Sony In-Ear Earbuds with sound-reduction technology. The EX85 series earbuds are included in the US retail package. It will not include an FM radio, additional memory storage, or a voice recorder. After Sony upgraded the Walkman A model, the A810 series was no longer viewable at SonyStyle online store.

Sony Walkman X 16GB USA model

Walkman X series

The Sony Walkman X series is a touchscreen audio and video player from Sony. It has a 3 inch OLED touch screen, internet access through Wi-Fi and digital noise-cancelling as well as applications for Slacker and Youtube. It is available in 16 Gb and 32 Gb versions.

Media files can be transferred using programs such as Media Manager, Windows Media Player 11 (both programs are on the CD), and Content Transfer (Sony made), but they can also be dragged and dropped from the computer to the device using a file manager such as Windows Explorer. If MTP is not installed on the computer, the Walkman switches to UMS/MSC mode.

Like all Sony players sold outside Japan since 2007 (since the NWZ-A810 series), the player is not gapless (there is a gap between tracks, unless WAV/PCM audio files are used), it does not support lossless compression, and there is no on-the-go playlist feature (playlists can only be created on a computer).

Walkman Phones from Sony Ericsson

After losing a large portion of the market to other companies, Sony's latest attempt to revive the Walkman brand involves a series of music-centred mobile phones marketed under the Sony Ericsson brand.

Contrary to most Walkman line, Sony Ericsson Walkman Phones do not support Sony's proprietary audio format, ATRAC (with all of its variants, except certain Japanese models supporting ATRAC). Walkman phones do support AAC as well as MP3.

The W800 and W550/W600 have numerous audio capabilities including playlists, audio equalisation, support for the M4A audio file format, and the ability to operate only as music player, with the telephony electronics switched off. It also includes standard mobile phone features, such as a 2 megapixel auto-focus camera. The W550/W600 will have 256 MB of internal memory, while the W800 includes a 512 MB Memory Stick.

The W810 is an EDGE-enabled Quad band telephone launched in response to demand for a black coloured Walkman Phone. Other than minor changes in the software and hardware, most of the features are similar to those of the W800.

Sony Ericsson also launched the W900 (considered the successor of S700) which in addition to the audio and camera capabilities of W800, also features 3G video calling and streaming, better video recording (30 frames a second), a larger display, and 470 MB of internal memory which can be expanded up to 2 GB. Music can be imported from a variety of sources, either via the wireless service provider or from a personal computer.

Sony Ericsson president Miles Flint, claiming to have sold over three million Walkman phones, introduced their sixth Walkman branded phone, the W950, at the 3GSM Congress in 2006. The W950i is a slim device with 4 GB internal flash memory, including a touch screen for navigation through music genres, playlists, individual songs or music albums. It is also the first Symbian OS-based Walkman phone to be introduced.

In 2006, Sony Ericsson announced yet another Walkman phone, the W300. It is the first Walkman phone in the series in a "flip phone" form factor. The W300 is also the first Walkman Phone to support Memory Stick Micro and features a VGA camera. They also launched their 8th Walkman telephone, the W700. It is essentially a stripped-down version of the W800 with a different case colour, and includes a 256 MB Memory Stick. The other major change is the absence of Auto-focus in the onboard camera.

May 18, 2006, saw the introduction of two more Walkman phones, a second clamshell model, W710, and the first slider, W850i.

In February 2007, the W880 was announced and released. It features a design which is only 9.4 mm thick and a full metal face plate. Being one of the smallest phones on the market, it has proved very popular.

In November 2007, the W890 was announced and was released in February 2008. It was a great hit. Following the former model in the series the W880, the W890 had a lot more enhanced features. Its built-in camera was upgraded to 3.2 MP from 2 MP. An FM radio was introduced in it. It featured 3.5G tech which increased the connection speed from 384 kbit/s in the W880 to 3.6 Mbit/s in this phone. Both the internal and package included external memory were doubled. Its talk time increased from 6.5 hr to 9.5 hr and the music play time reached 20 hrs. A worth mention thing is that in spite of all the upgraded features its thickness was enlarged by just 0.5 mm. So it gained great attention, especially from those who owned the W880 or had a chance to interfere with it.

The popularity of Walkman-branded telephones may be an indication that the portable audio and mobile telephone markets are beginning to converge. Walkman phones are equipped with applications such as Track ID, PlayNow and M-BUZZ and as of June 2007 Sony Ericsson claims to have sold over 26.5 million Walkman phones since the launch in September 2005. Sony Ericsson is seen to have had the most success with converging music and mobile phones, largely attributed to the Walkman heritage and expertise from Sony.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Hormby, Thomas (2006-09-15). "The Story Behind the Sony Walkman". Low End Mac. http://lowendmac.com/orchard/06/0915.html. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  2. ^ Läsarnas sjuka varumärken
  3. ^ Sony Web site – Google search results for "Walkman Personal Stereos"
  4. ^ Miller, Paul (2007-02-16). "Sony's NW-A800 Series Outed". Engadget. http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/16/sonys-nw-a800-series-outed/. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  5. ^ a b c d International Herald Tribune: Portable stereo's creator got his due, eventually]
  6. ^ History Repeats With Personal TV, New York Times, April 9, 1989.
  7. ^ Firmware upgrade program for NW-A3000 – Sony Europe Customer Support Portal
  8. ^ SourceForge.net: Symphonic
  9. ^ atraclife.com

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also walkman

Contents

English

Etymology

A trademark; apparently from walk + man.

Noun

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Wikipedia

Singular
Walkman

Plural
Walkmans

Walkman (plural Walkmans)

  1. A portable audio cassette player with headphones.

Usage notes

  • This term is sometimes taken to refer specifically to the product named Walkman, rather than generically to any similar product.
  • In generic use, sometimes not capitalized: walkman.

Simple English

Walkman is the invention as well as the brand name of Sony. It represents a portable audio player. Today, similar devices are also called "Walkman". The name describes players that have small sizes and can be carried by one anywhere. The portable player was a revolutionary device since one could take favorite music with him or her.

History

The year of release of the original Walkman is 1979. The name "Walkman" was used in Japan, while abroad it had other names, one of which was "Soundabout". First the product did not have a name, and then one of the company's staff proposed "Walkman". Because it was a direct translation from Japanese, Sony's leadership seemed skeptical. They thought "Walkman" was not a suitable name for a device which was to be launched in the United States and Europe.

Sony used new ways to introduce its new product on the market and advertise it. The main idea of Sony was to make people aware that Walkman is a product that is unique on the market and that it is both new and fun.

On June 22 (the date of release) Sony Walkman appeared in Tokyo. The company held an unusual press conference where different journalists were invited to Yoyogi, which is Tokyo's major park. They were given Walkman so to prove that the portable player is fun and easy to use. By 1995 there were already about 150 million Walkman portable players produced.

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