Do you remember a time when the Sony Walkman was as high-tech as the iPhone 5? Even though we have the modern advantage of rechargeable batteries, the idea of having a portable cassette or CD player today seems laughable. However, when the transistor radio was invented in the 1950’s, the world suddenly had an idea that music could be handheld. Inventions like the boom box dominated certain decades, but it was the introduction of the Walkman by Sony in 1979 that would shape music listening for the next twenty years.
A Brief History Of The Walkman
Despite the fact that Sony launched the product, the actual inventor of the portable personal stereo audio cassette player was a man named Andreas Pavel. He filed a patent for a device he called a “Stereobelt” in 1977. Since Pavel’s patent was rejected by the United States, Sony was able to gain a market there with their Walkman model. However, Pavel eventually reclaimed his financial losses from Sony and gained the title of “Original Inventor of the Personal Stereo.” Nevertheless, it was Sony that made the Walkman popular. For the record, the first Sony Walkman was released in 1979.
The Walkman Takes Over America
Over the course of the 1980’s, the Sony Walkman became a household name. In fact, when other brands picked up the manufacturing of personal stereo products, consumers would still refer to it as their Walkman despite the fact it was not made by Sony. Similar to the way smartphones are regarded today, children in the 1980’s were usually encouraged to avoid using a Walkman because the first models were easy to break. In the mid-1980’s, Sony resolved this issue by producing a line of Walkman toys for children called My First Sony. This was one of many ways that Sony responded to the complaints of their customers. Other examples of improvements to the original design include their slim-line, waterproof and battery-efficient models.
The Walkman Goes Solar
Available in white or yellow, the solar revolution was part of the Walkman history. In 1987 when the Solar Walkman was released on the market, the solar-powered calculator was already prominent. Clearly, the WMF107 Solar Walkman was one of the next steps in getting rid of the need to buy AA batteries every week. Sadly, the Solar Walkman was never perfected, and the unit would not work at full capacity unless the sun was extremely bright. The first run model was also expensive for consumers and the rechargeable battery was difficult to care for.
The Walkman Says Good-Bye
Despite its absence in the modern marketplace, this product did not decline in popularity as early as you think. After decades of being a sought-after piece of technology, Sony finally announced that it would cease production of the device. It made one final batch of Walkmans, and then told the press that these were the final units. By the end of 2011, the days of the Walkman were drawn to a close. There are still many models for sale throughout the world, but you can no longer buy them from the manufacturer. Sony has stated in several reports that the main cause of decline for this product was the invention of the MP3 player.
And with that, the world says good-bye to another great must-have piece of technology.
This piece was written by Pete Salinsky, a freelance writer based in Baton Rouge, LA. Pete enjoys writing about gadgets, gadget accessories, computers, cell phones and other associated topics.
Libratone’s TRACK+ Wireless Headphones Keep The Chaos Out And The Music In
When the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones were unveiled at CES earlier this year, I was intrigued by their Smart Noise Cancellation technology, which lets you control how much of the world you want to let in or out.
Now, active noise cancelling headphones are nothing new, and they’ve long been a must-have for frequent travelers like myself who want to “get away from it all” and just enjoy their tunes.
But Libratone has taken it a step further, with the TRACK+ offering 4 levels of adjustable noise cancellation so you can control how much you hear of the world around you. You can even let Smart Mode do it for you automatically, adjusting based on your environment and activity.
When the TRACK+ detects movement like running or a workout, it will automatically allow in slightly more ambient noise so you’re aware of your surroundings. Because let’s face it, the last thing you want is to get hit by a car or bike because you couldn’t hear them coming!
Similarly, when you’re sitting still in a loud place (like an airplane or train), the earphones will cancel the maximum amount of outside noise so you can focus on the music and nothing else. And in that respect, they work incredibly well.. assuming you read the directions.
You see, during my first testing session, I wasn’t all that impressed with the TRACK+, as there was too much ambient noise coming through, even on the highest noise cancellation (-20dB) setting. The problem? The eartips weren’t forming a perfect seal with my ear. Once I switched to a larger eartip (four different sizes are provided), the difference was night and day, with the outside world completely disappearing.
Since then, I’ve taken the TRACK+ on a few flights, on a train ride to New York, and even into a crowded Starbucks. And in every case, they performed amazing well, allowing me to focus on my music, movies, podcasts, and such without being distracted by the outside noise.
Those planning on hitting the gym will be pleased to know that they have a splash-proof IPX4 rating, that the earbuds are sweat-proof, and the included sport fins allow you to run on the treadmill without concerns about them falling out. And thanks to the ANC, you can drown out those grunting meatheads and focus on what you’re there to do.
Overall, there is a lot to like about the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones, and I’d highly recommend them to anyone who’s looking to drown out some of the outside chaos. At $199, they’re not to cheapest option out there, but they’re well worth it. These wireless eadbuds offer high quality sound, 4 levels of adjustable noise cancellation, long battery life (8 hours), and a sleek, minimalist design. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Visit www.libratone.com to learn more about the TRACK+ earphones.
Alpine Unveils 9-Inch Aftermarket Head Unit With Floating Design At CES
Many of today’s newer cars come with huge infotainment screens (like the Lexus LC 500 with it’s 10.3″ dash-mounted screen). But if you’ve got an older car and want that big screen experience, you’re pretty much out of luck, as most single DIN and double DIN radios only give you so much space to work with.
Alpine Electronics came up with a unique solution to this common problem with their new 9-inch iLX-F309 in-dash system, which they debuted at CES this week. This AM/FM/audio/video receiver uses a 1-DIN chassis for installation, with a 9-inch touch screen “hovering” in front of the vehicle’s dash, allowing the oversized screen to be added to a variety of vehicles without the need for custom installation.
Installation of the Alpine iLX-F309 sounds like a breeze, as described here:
The 9-inch screen is attached to an adjustable mount connected to a 1-DIN chassis. Once installed, the screen and mount are fixed to the chassis for a sturdy installation. The screen hovers over or in front of the dash while its rear housing tapers off cleanly at the edges for a thin, modern silhouette. At its default position, the screen’s sliding mount is pushed out, sitting at a 90-degree angle and the bottom of the screen is centered with the 1-DIN chassis.
At this point, the screen can be angled at select positions to assist during installation, help with visibility, or move it away from other items on the dashboard. The screen can be positioned 20 mm back from its default position, to move it closer to the dashboard. It can be moved up or down 30mm from its default position and can be tilted up/down at a maximum of 45-degrees, depending on the position of the up/down location.
The iLX-F309 has a suite of entertainment features sure to please the most discerning of techies, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming audio, HD Radio, SiriusXM, Alpine TuneIt App integration, AUX, HDMI, and rear camera inputs, and more. The system doesn’t include a CD or DVD slot.
If you’re interested in getting the Alpine iLX-F309 for your vehicle, you won’t have long to wait, as the system will be available at authorized retailers in February, with a suggested retail price of $1,100.
What do you think of the Alpine iLX-F309 with it’s 9-inch floating screen?
This Is The Gravity-Defying Death Star Speaker You’ve Been Looking For!
Unbound from the laws of gravity, Plox is bringing the might of the Empire to your home with the Official Star Wars Levitating Death Star Speaker. Amaze your friends and yourself as your Death Star speaker delivers 360 degrees of uncompromising sound for up to five hours on a single charge.
The gravity-defying orb combines 360° Bluetooth sound projection with an out-of-this-world levitation system using Plox’s force technology. This exclusive Star Wars collectible is the Death Star you’ve been waiting for.
This is a great sounding speaker that any Star Wars fan would want. Sadly, this model does not come with the planet-destroying super laser. Hopefully, they can add this to their later models. For now, you can only ‘blast’ some cool tunes.
The Empire’s ultimate weapon can now be yours. May the force be with you!