Sony has announced the release of the ZX2 yesterday, or as Sony is trying to sell it: "the new Sony Walkman". Cue the obligatory headlines gushing about the resurrected piece of kit and its matte black casing, 128GB storage and S-Master HX processor. Oh yeah, it's going to cost you nearly £800, which we'd suspect may prove an issue for your average just-walking-around-listening-to-tunes customer. The sound quality is really good though.
Sony's original Walkman hit American shops in 1979, retailing at $150. Taking into account inflation, that's just over $500 in 2014, making it way better value that this year's model. The original was a genuinely revolutionary piece of kit and meant that we could finally ignore each other on trains in peace. It spawned a mixtape culture and a generation of people labouring in bedrooms over their homemade radio shows on cassette, only to be broadcast to their friends.
The Walkman turns up in huge songs like "Forgot About Dre" (one day I was walking by, with a Walkman on, when I caught a guy) or "Oh Shit" by The Pharcyde (the next man had my Walkman bumping on the 50 yard line).
The ZX2, despite its (no doubt fabulous) S-Master HX processor, will not be impacting on our lives in the same way. We're not saying that we should hit delete on all our mp3s and redefine ourselves as cassette purists, but it's the far-fetched marketing ploy that's grating.
Sure, Sony will always be indebted to the Walkman, a music player that sold over 400 million units, with over half of them cassettes, but this latest offering is needlessly holding onto past glories and trying to get people to part with shitloads of money at the same time.
In the meantime, enjoy Eminem's appreciation of the original Walkman: