Advances in transistor and microprocessor technologies brought about a revolution in mobile and wearable personal consumer products in the late twentieth century.
One of the most important products to impact upon this design, social and fashion trend was the Sony Walkman, which was first marketed in 1979. Sony reconfigured existing technology into a compact package that delivered high quality sound and was attractive, portable and simple to operate. The Sony Walkman was of original design, was an immediate commercial success internationally and within months was imitated by countless manufacturers in superficial variations of Sony's design.
The Sony Walkman's impact on late twentieth century communication, product design, social and fashion trends, music and media is demonstrated by products, mechanisms and behaviours such as the Discman, MP3 players, mobile telephony, wireless application protocol devices, audio media formats, new modes of distribution and delivery, and studies in the phenomenon of their use in public spaces.
The acquisition of the Walkman builds upon the Information and Communications Technology collection of "design" material and more recent acquisitions of personal mobile devices. The design, development, marketing and social impact of the Sony Walkman are extraordinarily well documented (du Guy, Hall, Janes, Mackay, Negus - Doing Cultural Studies, SAGE, 1997).
Campbell Bickerstaff, 2003