Sony kills off the MiniDisc Walkman

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Nothing lasts forever – the Egyptian dynasty of Pharaohs was pretty long, but eventually the sands of time overcame any imperialistic tendencies. Having said that, the mighty Babylonian, Greek, Persian, Roman and British empire also did not last, even when the rulers thought that they had ushered in the New World Order. Heck, even Hitler with his 1,000 year Reich failed to make it to his successor, so what makes you think that a particular data format will last?

In this digital age, we have seen information being spread using floppy disks that evolved from the 5.25″ variety to the much more durable 3.5″ form factor. Once data started to get larger and larger, a more suitable means of transfer needed to be used, which gave birth to CDs and subsequently, DVDs. Today, we transfer Gigabytes’ worth of data on a Blu-ray disc, and we’re sure that sometime down the road, newer formats will roll out. Let us pause for a moment of silence for a fallen comrade – the MiniDisc.

Yes sir, Sony has finally decided that enough is enough, and will stop manufacturing the MiniDisc Walkman. This product originally appeared back in 1992 (wow, one more year and it would have hit its 20th anniversary!), with shipments ceasing from this September onwards. This is because there is no more sustainable demand for the MiniDisc player, hence Sony’s painful decision to stop its manufacturing.

Before the iPod took over the portable media player world by storm, the MiniDisc player was the epitome of cool. Imagine stashing away an entire album on a disc that measures just 6.4cm in diameter, without the skipping problems that plagued the Discman while doing away with all the noise found in cassette tapes. Too bad the MP3 format and a slew of portable audio players like the iPod appeared, which marked the beginning of the MiniDisc’s decline.

To date, the MiniDisc Walkman had sold around 22 million units worldwide, but it ultimately failed to match the popularity enjoyed by its predecessor, the portable cassette player (the original Walkman, of course). Sony won’t give up making the discs yet though, so don’t trash that MiniDisc player just yet.

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