We look back at Sanyo as an “also ran” during the Walkman heyday but the make’s models offered decent sound quality and plenty of features, usually below the MSRP of the leaders’ models. “Sanyo” translates to three oceans in English. In the early ’80s, their personal stereo line was a strong one worldwide but success for the company petered out in North America and Europe. Sanyo continued in Japan and returned to worldwide distribution in the ’90s with a super-cheap discount line.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Sony must have been blushing for the last thirty years. Almost immediately after the release of Walkman, electronics manufacturers responded to Sony with cheaper, better or more stylish versions of the original personal stereo. Through the ’80s, a competitive market forced many players out but through the battle consumers enjoyed a terrific selection of unique and innovative models.
Electronics giant Matsushita entered the Walkman market early in the game and released some interesting, high-quality models through the ’80s and well into the ’90s under the National and Panasonic brands. Like other manufacturers in the early days, National/Panasonic had their own pet name for their personal stereo line: the Stereo-to-Go.