Wednesday, October 27, 1999

It’s a Walkman! Or is it?

Twenty years may be a rather long time to master the art of miniaturization. Okay, that’s judgmental. But then again, time has moved on really fast. So has modern technology.

In another 20 years’ time, what we see could really blow our minds apart.

Just imagine a gadget that’s so technologically advanced, it hardly has any semblance to the Walkman we have now. Perhaps it will not even be known as a “Walkman” then.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s just continue to call it a “Walkman”.

By the year 2020, the first thing that would have been dealt with is the cumbersome, and often restrictive, wire of the earphones. The Walkman of this era should allow the user to stay connected without being connected. That is, the earphones will become tangle-free because it’s wireless!

Music from the Walkman will be transmitted via infrared, digital signals to the earphone within a 10-kilometre radius. On top of that, the majority of the Walkman’s functions can be activated remotely by pre-programmed voice commands.

Basically, that means you do not have to carry the Walkman with you whenever you go for your jog, take a leisurely stroll at the park, or pick up some groceries from the neighbourhood store. And because the Walkman is not carried along with the user, there will be no particular need for ESP. But of course, the ESP function will still be incorporated for those who prefer to have the Walkman by their side.

Owing to the greater mobility of human beings in the new millennium, the Walkman should also be weatherproof to suit our globetrotting lifestyle. Precisely because we will always be on the move, changing batteries (or even recharging them) for the Walkman could be a hassle. As such, the Walkman in the year 2020 must be able to draw its power from alternative sources, especially solar and kinetic energy as these are more environmentally friendly.

In terms of functionality, fuzzy logic will be employed to “remember” your musical preferences so that the Walkman will skip those tracks (typically in compilations) that you probably won’t appreciate.

The design of the new Walkman will also be in line with the trend of miniaturizing every gadget that comes our way. This is made easier by the availability of microchip, which in turn makes downloading music from the Internet onto the Walkman possible. And with that, the identity of the Walkman is forever changed.

But all that could be just the tip of the iceberg.

After all, who knows what else Sony can come up with?

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