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Sony’s 40th Anniversary Walkman is bullshit

Take a long Walk(man) off a short pier, Sony – Joe

sony walkman 2019
This thing doesn't play tapes. (Image: Sony)

Cashing in on nostalgia should have rules. The first rule being that whatever the product is that is taking advantage of nostalgia should be functionally similar to the original product. The second should be a fair price. Sony has broken both those rules I just made up with its NW-A100TPS Walkman 40th Anniversary Mp3 player.

Revealed at IFA in Berlin last week, the new Sony Walkman 40th anniversary edition is a callback to the original TPS-L2 from 1979. The biggest difference is that it is just a visual effect. The Mp3 player itself is just that, it’s not an actual cassette player and just has a soft cover that resembles the TPS-L2. It’s as much of a Walkman as an iPhone case.

Not only is it not a cassette player, but it’s a mere 16GB that will sell for $599 in Australia and €440/£400 in Europe later this year, with no information on a US release date. Sony has never stopped making things with the Walkman brand name, but stopped making cassette players a long time ago. Releasing a 40th-anniversary player should be more than just slapping a soft cover on an existing model and jacking up the price.

Additionally, 16GB for a near $600 Mp3 player in 2019 is absolute dog crap. Who the fuck wants to pay that much for something with that little storage? Sure, it has a microSD slot and its Android OS can connect to WiFi for streaming, but your phone does all that. I was getting 16GB Mp3 players a decade ago (probably). And did I mention it doesn’t fucking play cassettes? And that it has a cassette tape UI that looks like a cassette but isn’t one?

Not to mention that Sony apparently created a 185TB cassette tape a while back. So the technology is there to really make nostalgia count. How thirsty is your nostalgia that it would be satisfied by a fucking soft cover over a mediocre Mp3 player?

Some folk at IFA immediately whipped out their genitals and fucking turned on the sloppy sprinklers upon seeing a damn soft cover masquerading as a cassette player. This isn’t a 40th anniversary anything. It’s just another over-priced Mp3 player from Sony with a cute softcover.

Want to celebrate the original Walkman Sony? Make another one. I still have a box of cassette tapes. They are making a comeback. Now is the time. But no, Sony isn’t actually interested in Gen X nostalgia, it is interested in profiting off Gen Z curiosity about Gen X nostalgia. And all that generation needs is soft covers and cheeky phone cases.

The Sony Walkman cassette player is something that many of us remember and owned. There is an emotional connection to playing cassette tapes that is difficult to reproduce, but is possible. This 40th anniversary Walkman is nothing.

It’s not nostalgia, it’s not a functional cassette player. It’s bullshit marketing with a price point worse than having to use a pencil to rewind tapes. If you want to get nostalgic about cassette players, go over to eBay and buy one. Don’t bother with this trash from Sony. You can do better. Our mixtapes from 1994 deserve better.

What do you think? Is this glorified MP3 player from Sony interesting to you? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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A tech writer on the internet for over 15 years for outlets such as Forbes, Wired, TNW, and others, Curtis is exhausted, burnt out and happy to just write buying guides and the occasional review for KnowTechie, the best tech blog your mom never told you about. Ephemeral existence for ephemeral times. Please send pitches and grainy pictures of the inside of your elbow to kevin@knowtechie.com

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