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The Ultimate Collector's Item - Sony's 20th Anniversary Walkman

Don't you hate to get strangled by these headset wires around your neck or getting the ear buds ripped put of your ears when you just moved your head a little too fast?

We know that the engineers at Sony always keep their ears close to the customers (pun intended) and they solved this problems in, not a really new, but for this type of product, unique way.

The folks at the Sony Design Center (*) in Tokyo have, for years, (20 years in this case) adhered to a product life cycle model that defines the birth of a new product technology as "Sunrise", and the time when new versions of an existing and successful product keep coming to market "Perpetual Sunset."

Called the "20th Anniversary Walkman," the WM-WE01 commemorates the release of the original Walkman in the early spring of 1979.


A Walkman Without Wires -
application of a new tech-feature...
and a sign of things to come?


  Sony 20th Anniversary Walkman

  All standard WalkMan features
  including auto-reverse, AVLS
  volume limiter, wireless on/off
  switch, two-channel switcher
  to eliminate cross speech,
  headphone connector.

  - Spare Battery for Headset,
  - Battery Charger
  - Backup, attachable AAA
     battery case

  Price: about $200 (in Japan)


For whatever reason, Sony has made this technical marvel available - in Japan only. We bet that this might make it an instant collectors item for every boomer who grew up buying a new WalkMan every other year.

As perhaps the final, or near final, version of the portable tape cassette player, the WM-WE01's design captures the spirit, style and innovation that have been characteristic of the Walkman product throughout its entire life.

Packaged in a sleek, ultra-thin, barely larger than the actual audio cassette steel-blue case, this "special device" includes a feature new to the Walkman line…an ability to control cassette operations, and listen to them, via a fully wireless connection. This is accomplished with a wireless receiver headset and a 1-˝ inch diameter disc-shaped remote control.

The remote has a clip on the back, allowing you to attach the device to a shirt pocket, jacket, or simply the top of your pants pocket. Functions accessible from the remote include: repeat, fast forward, rewind, stop, and a hold function to prevent inadvertent battery discharge.

As for the audio performance of this unit, it fully lives up to the great sound that you have come to expect from the Sony Walkman series. Equipped with Dolby noise reduction, Sony's proprietary AVLS volume adjustment technology, and "groove" bass enhancement, this product delivers across the full audio spectrum with virtually no distortion. As the product is only available in Japan, the pricing comes in at around $200 on the yen-to-dollar conversion.

This is a true collector's item, as Sony is now moving aggressively into the world of digital audio players, first with the VAIO Music Clip Personal Network Player, then the NW-E3 Network Walkman Digital Music Player, and the NW-MS7 Digital Music Player that accepts Sony 64MB MagicGate Memory Stick media. But all of these new toys are for a separate article…

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(*) Interested to find out more about the Sony Design Center? There is a great book by Paul Kunkel - "Digital Dreams: The Work of the Sony Design Center" for $28 at Amazon.com.
Anybody who likes Sony's equipment should get this for the "coffee table".


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