In December 1978, Ibuka said to Morita, "Don't you think a stereo cassette player that you can listen to while walking around is a good idea?" Two months later, Morita called a meeting at Sony HQ. He held up a model of the first ever portable music player and said, "This is the product that will let young people listen to music all day – they'll take it everywhere with them." Four months later, the Walkman® was released. They brought their skills together to create a truly unique and innovative Sony product yet again. It's a tradition that we continue today.
Pioneers of an Industry
It was 1946, and Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita were making a living in post-war Japan repairing radios and manufacturing voltmeters. But they had a bigger dream, one that would change the future of electronics.
Ibuka and Morita were visionaries. They saw the need for a global company that could cross cultural and language barriers to expand into countries around the world. They were also innovators and kicked off their career with the invention of the automatic rice cooker—the first in a long line of innovations that continue today.
But it was the 1950's and the company's original name, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (TTK), was taken by another company. TTK needed a fresh, iconic name, one that would be simple, memorable and transcend language barriers. The name 'Sony' was born. It crossed the Latin word sonus, from which 'sound' and 'sonic' are derived, with the English term 'sonny-boy', an American term used in the 1950's to denote a bright youngster.
Although the name of the company was not officially changed to Sony Corporation until 1958, the first Sony branded TR-55 transistor radio went on sale in 1955. That same year, Akio Morita made his first trip to the US. With products in hand, he was ready to build the foundation of the company with the Sony name.
Sony: Six Decades of Innovation
1950 - 1959
- Japan's first magnetic tape recorder, the "G Type"
- Japan's first transistor radio, the "TR-55"
1960 - 1969
- World's first transistor TV
- Releases first revolutionary Trinitron® color television
1970 - 1979
- First ¾ Inch U-matic VCR
- Introduce Betamax® video player/recorder, the world's first videocassette recorder using 1/2-inch tape.
- Introduces the first Walkman® portable stereo
1980 - 1989
- Introduces the world's first CD player
- The first 8mm camcorder/Hi8™ line creates a sensation in camcorders
1990 - 1999
- Develops the MiniDisc™ (MD) player, a revolutionary, recordable and ultra compact optical disk
- Launches Sony PlayStation® game
- Introduces first VAIO® computer
- Introduces Memory Stick® storage media
- First AIBO® Entertainment Robot
2000 - Present
- CLIE® Handheld
- Introduces 40" Trinitron WEGA television, the industry's largest CRT; and 50" Grand WEGA® television using rear projection LCD technology
- Introduces first plasma TVs in the United States
- Dual DVD Recorder
- World's first HDV™ 1080i camcorder
- Introduces first Sony Reader digital book
- First to introduce the OLED TV