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Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the Walkman brand. For information about the generic item, see Personal stereo. Walkman is a series of portable media players and some Sony Ericsson mobile phones manufactured by Sony. The original Walkman, released in 1979, was a portable cassette player that changed listening habits by allowing people to listen to music on the move. Japanese-English name, it was sold under several names, including Soundabout in the United States, Freestyle in Sweden, and Stowaway in the UK. Eventually “Walkman” caught on globally and Sony used the name worldwide. Magnetic cassette technology was developed in 1963 by the Dutch electronics firm Philips.
In the late 1960s, the introduction of prerecorded cassette tapes made it possible to listen to tapes of music on car stereos, though vinyl remained the most popular format for home listening. Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka used Sony’s bulky TC-D5 cassette recorder to listen to music while traveling for business. He asked executive deputy president Norio Ohga to design a playback-only stereo version optimized for headphone use. Though Sony predicted it would sell about 5,000 units a month, it sold more than 50,000 in the first two months.