In 1980, Aiwa entered the walkman scene with the TP-S30, the world’s first personal stereo recorder. Though the company’s major shareholder was Sony, there was an understanding that healthy competition between the two brands would be profitable for both companies. This competition was certainly enjoyed by consumers in the ’80s as we saw many beautiful and feature-packed models. We believe Aiwa distributed several releases worldwide but with model numbers which varied by market locale. Unfortunately, at least one gadget was never officially offered outside of Japan: the 1982 OnAir CassetteBoy, a personal cassette that worked with a small transmitter to push a signal to an FM radio headset–the first wireless walkman!
Aiwa’s models were small, complicated marvels of audio technology. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Aiwa reached a pinnacle with some high-end models with features like voice navigation, BBE sound processing, Dolby C noise reduction and amorphous playback heads–features normally found on home stereo equipment. Sadly, in the early 2000s, Aiwa’s product line dried up unable to endure the fierce competition in an rapidly evolving portable audio market.