The original Walkman introduced a change in music listening habits by allowing people to carry music with them and listen to music through lightweight headphones. The prototype was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-chairman Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips. Continue reading to see what happened when The Fine Bros gave a group of kids a Walkman and asked them to explain what it does.
The original Walkman was marketed in 1979 as the Walkman in Japan and, from 1980, the Soundabout in many other countries including the US, Freestyle in Sweden and the Stowaway in the UK. Advertising, despite all the foreign languages, still attracted thousands of buyers in the US specifically. Morita hated the name “Walkman” and asked that it be changed, but relented after being told by junior executives that a promotion campaign had already begun using the brand name and that it would be too expensive to change.