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RETROSPECTION: The Sony Walkman WM-1 changed my way of mobility
Posted by Arne Hess - on Sunday, 26.06.05 - 16:22:35 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 29386x
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For any reason I became a gadget geek and since I was a young teenager, I described my love to gadgets with "I enjoy to play with everything which has buttons and doesn't requires more than 12 volt power". When I was at my parents last weekend, I found my very first gadget which changed my view of mobility - my Sony Walkman WM-1 which was basically Sony's first commercial Walkman (therefore WM-1 I think).

It was in 1980 when I was 9 years old only. Like most of us in this age, every day my friends and I spend our time on the street with our bikes and anytime (can't remember when and why) I took my portable cassette recorder with me. No, this thing wasn't mobile but portable only and it was too heavy to carry it on the body but good enough to carry it on the bike. However, I remember the day very well when my Dad came home from one of his business trips from far east (it was Hong Kong - I also remember because Hong Kong also changed my life - 15 years later) and he gave me "my first Sony" - the Sony WM-1 Stereo Walkman (my old portable casette player was mono only), something neither I nor my friends have seen in reality but something we have heard about only! 8O Maybe you can imagine how I felt that day; nothing compares to that moment (gadget-wise or maybe there was one more day I felt the same: the day I got my first Commodore C64).

Anyway - when I was at home last week, I opened one of my drawer and I got the same warm feeling again:

The WM-1 included a strap as well as a belt clip on the back, dual headphone jacks, LED battery indicator and recessed volume knob.

I even have the original headset while I lost the strap anytime during the past 25 years but nevertheless - it's still working well, even if I had a hard time to find a cassette in my household (I think I used one the last time mid 90th last century). The WM-1 required four AA-batteries and it was the time where nobody was talking about stand-by or working-time, etc. Even if you had to exchange the batteries every 4 hours (I can not remember anymore how long the play-time was) it was the time where you had some spare batteries with you anyway.

And today; 25 years after I got my first personal music device which seems to be bulky and function-limited today? Today everything is digital, no more analogue cassettes (no more analogue telecommunication or TV) but my music is digital today and yes - I even can take videos with me (but my first VCR - from Sony also - is a different story):

From left to right: Sony WM-1 (analogue cassette player), Creative Zen PMC (20GB HDD for music, video and photos), HTC Universal (up to 4GB SD for music, video and photos), HTC Magician (up to 4GB SD for music, video and photos), Apple iPod (40GB HDD for music).

But no, nothing compares with my first Walkman. Sure, all the devices above can do way more than my Walkman was able to do ever, in a better quality and nice form-factor but the Walkman was the start into my gadget-life and therefore the father of all my gadgets today! :-)

And yes, I have to admit that these days I have to continued my love to Sony (even if I can not follow their decisions all the time). "It's a Sony" is still a cachet for me - for home entertainment, Notebooks and mobile phones.

How have you started your gadget-love and when have you started it for which reason?

Cheers ~ Arne


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