Sony Cashes In On Nostalgia With 40th-Anniversary Walkman (Now Cassette-Free!)

Image: Sony

In honor of the original Walkman’s 40th birthday, Sony is releasing an anniversary edition of the iconic cassette player that first made music portable, the company revealed at IFA on Thursday. Only, it doesn’t actually play cassettes, so don’t go breaking your collection out of storage. And it’ll set you back about three times as much as one would have in 1979.

Sony’s NW-A100TPS (doesn’t exactly have the same ring, does it?) marks the company’s latest attempt to revitalize the Walkman brand, and this time around they’ve seemed to have given up any pretense that this is anything more than a nostalgia cash grab. While Sony has purportedly made a cassette tape with a storage capacity that would put its 20th-century brethren to shame, the commpany smartly decided to forego magnetic tape entirely with its new design.

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Instead, an Android-powered music player stores up to 16GB of your favorite tunes. It lacks a SIM card but you can connect to Wifi and use Android apps via its itty bitty 3.6-inch touchscreen. For the complete nostalgia factor, the device has a screensaver that looks like an old-school cassette player except the color changes depending on what type of music file is playing. An accompanying soft case that comes with it looks every bit like an old Walkman, so when you throw up that screensaver and snap the case closed it’ll make you feel just like you’re back in the ‘80s. Or, for those of our readers too young to remember the Walkman’s heyday (like me), it’ll make you feel just like you’re in an episode of Stranger Things.

If you want to go full retro mode, this special edition Walkman has a headphone jack as well. But you can also just connect to Bluetooth like a normal person too.

Unlike back then though, when a Walkman had a price tag of about $150, this special-edition Walkman will go on sale for $599 in Australia and €440/£400 in Europe come December. That equals out to between $400 and $500 when converted to American dollars, though Sony hasn’t hammered out any details for a stateside release date or price point yet.

But I mean, can you really put a price tag on the first truly portable commercial music player? A device that punted vinyl out of cultural relevancy (back then, at least) by selling 200 million units over its lifetime? The predecessor to the iPod, smartphones, and all manner of gadgets that consume our lives now? For this consumer, yes. Yes, you absolutely can. And it’s half a grand more than I’m willing to spend.

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Alyse Stanley

Gizmodo weekend editor. Freelance video game reporter. Full-time disaster bi.