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Demise of the Walkman Brand?

I was initially going to call this post "death of the Walkman brand" but I doubt Sony would kill the Walkman brand at this time, or any time in the near future.  As most gadget lovers know, this past week was the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 and like all Walkman fans I was eagerly hoping for something brand new from Sony to replace the old X-Series.  Perhaps expecting an X-Series replacement was a bit too much, but the X-Series was introduced at CES exactly 2 years ago, so it would make sense for a successor to debut here as well.  Unfortunately no new Walkman debuted at CES or anything remotely related to the Walkman brand.  If it wasn't a new X-Series perhaps Sony was going to introduce the new S-Series to the US as a higher end model but it appears that this model will not be sold in North America at this time.  More rant after the break.

The worse part in all of this is that Sony introduced 2 brand new docks for the iPhone/iPod which permit streaming of music via WiFi to wireless speakers and to other Sony WiFi-enabled products.  I understand that the iPod/iPhone are big sellers and creating accessories for these is a no brainer, but then neglecting their own Walkman brand shows Sony has little faith in their own portable audio products.  Images of the 2 docks below, the NAC-SV10i and NAS-SV20i respectively.  I would love to see a similar dock debut for the Walkman brand but I think I am expecting too much here.  Click on the images for a larger size.

In addition to the 2 docks, 2 wireless speakers also debuted, the SA-NS300 and SA-NS400, with pricing at $200 and $300 respectively.  This is not definitely not cheap but I would seriously consider the speakers if they had great sound quality.  The press release has little or no information on the output of the speakers so once the release date gets closer perhaps more information will be released.  Click on the images below for a larger size.
To get a nice size comparison between the speakers, you can check out the image below from AV Watch.  Click on the image for a larger view.

As one can see the NS400 is twice as large as the NS300, which could possibly mean that that it might have twice the output, which is not bad considering it is only $100 more.

Apart from the speakers, it appears Sony is shifting most of its efforts onto their mobile phone division.  The Xperia Arc that debuted at the show is a marvelous device but lacking OLED and probably sound quality that is no where near as good as a stand alone Walkman.  I guess I am in the minority where I would carry both a cellphone and a separate dedicated mp3 player.  I am hoping Sony has not cast the Walkman brand aside in favour of other products in its portfolio, but if no new X-Series debuts this year or any significant new Walkman, I doubt the brand will survive much longer in its standalone state and will probably be slowly phased out in areas where it is not popular, like North America, Europe and Asia, with only Japan being spared.  Let's just hope I am wrong.


  1. I also (very sadly) see the eventual demise of the Walkman outside of Japan.

    The A and X series have disappeared from Australia leaving only the S, E, W, and B series. But, I guess if the X and A are not selling there's no point in having them in the market.

    And, yes! The lack of Walkman speaker docks and the overabundance of Sony iPod/iPhone speaker docks! The only Walkman speaker dock that Sony Australia was selling, the SRS-NWGU50, is no longer available. I inquired with Sony Australia as to whether there are any plans to release the RDP-NWD300 (as is occurring in UK/Europe), but was told that there are no plans to release one (at the time of reply), but I should keep an eye on their website. Waiting and waiting for something that may never appear! But, if I had an iPod, I could choose from 13 products in Australia! Very frustrating.

    Thanks by the way for your work on the Walkman Blog. I always enjoy it!

  2. The walkman brand is very popular in Europe, where Apple does not have such a foothold, and people vote with their ears rather than simply buying what the TV tells them to buy.

  3. I have been a die hard Walkman fan since the NW-HD1 network Walkman, which I moved to from a Sony mini-disc. Since then I went to the NWA-3000, the NW-A818,NWZ-S639F and now the NWZ-A845. The reason I've always stayed is because of the unbeatable sound quality!

    It is sad to say that I've seen the Walkman brand deteriorate ever since the NWA-3000. This Walkman had gapless playback, a TRUE switchable line-out for my h-fi, a true line out cradle and on-the-go-playlists. My NWZ-A845 now has no gapless, no true line out and no on-the-go-playlists. It's very strange to see functionality going backwards. The gapless problem has been there for 5 years and still no solution. But I will never give up on Sony, and if needs be I will have to start importing walkmans from Japan.

    I also agree that it is extremely frustrating to see docks, Hi-fi's and AV-recievers made by Sony with ipod support, but no Walkman support.

    Thank you Walkman blog.


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