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The Walkman is turning 40 — here are 13 other gadgets you didn't realise were over 20 years old

Rebecca Aydin , Business Insider US
 Jun 30, 2019, 10:41 AM
JAPAN - FEBRUARY 02:  The original Walkman, model
The original Walkman, model TCS 300, made by Sony of Japan. The TCS 300 was the first personal stereo cassette recorder manufactured by Sony. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
  • The Sony Walkman turns 40 on Monday.
  • Here are 13 other gadgets you probably didn't realise had already passed the 20-year milestone.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

The Sony Walkman turns 40 on July 1. The portable cassette stereo revolutionised how we consume music on the go, quickly seeped into pop-culture, and meaningfully preceded Jony Ive's iPod design.

The Walkman was inspired by Sony's cofounder Masaru Ibuka, who wanted a portable device he could use to listen to music on long flights.

Sony released the TPS-L2 Walkman in July 1979 in Japan. The device made it stateside by Christmas 1979, and by the next summer, The New York Times was calling it "the newest status symbol around town" in an article recently uncovered by Mentalfloss.

In honor of the Walkman turning 40, here are 13 other gadgets and products that you didn't realise were already over 20 years old:


The 1996 virtual pet is making a comeback in July 2019 at stores like Urban Outfitters and Target.

Bop It

The "fast talking, electronic" 1996 Hasbro game told players to "bop it, twist it, pull it, pass it" in its 1998 carnival-themed ad.

Nintendo Game Boy

The original Game Boy, which came out in 1989, turned 30 this year. It's led to dozens of successors; its first update in-color, Game Boy Color, was released in 1998.

Sony's robot dog, Aibo ERS-110

Sony put out its first Aibo robot dog, the ERS-110, 20 years ago in 1999. After a 12-year Aibo hiatus starting in 2006, Sony came back with Aibo ERS-1000 in 2018.

Cannon Powershot

The first of Canon's PowerShot series of point-and-shoot cameras was the model 600, released in 1996.


The first TiVo DVR (digital video recorder) rolled out in 1999.

USB Flash Drive

The first patent for the USB flash drive was filed by M-Systems in 1999, and the first USB flash drive sold was the ThumbDrive by Trek 2000 International in 2000.


The first VHS videotape was released in Japan in 1976 and made it stateside in 1977.


The CD was first released in Japan in 1982 and Europe in 1983.


Rob Stothard/Getty

The first smartphone was the the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, released in 1994. It featured a touchscreen and apps (e.g. calculator, calendar, mail, address book, notepad).


Research In Motion launched its first BlackBerry device, a two-way pager called the BlackBerry 850, in 1999. BlackBerry's messaging service, BBM, shut down in May 2019.


We've had DVDs since the mid-90s. Sony, Philips, Toshiba, and Time Warner were involved in creating the common DVD format agreed upon in 1995.


Philips released the Compact Cassette in 1963. That means we've been dropping fire mix-tapes for over 50 years now.

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