updated 08:50 am EDT, Fri July 8, 2011
Last Sony MiniDisc player to exit in September
Sony on Friday said it was cancelling sales of its last MiniDisc player, the MZ-RH1. It would "complete" shipments of the five-years-old player in September 2011. The recordable 1GB Hi-MD discs it can use will phase out a year later.
The company explained outright that "demand has decreased" for MiniDisc and that flash-based media players had taken over. Older style MiniDiscs would still be on sale for the foreseeable future.
Sony first launched MiniDiscs in 1992 at the height of its popularity for portable music. The format eventually, however, represented the company's sluggishness to adapt to the digital shift and an insistence on proprietary formats that had little reason to exist. Sony was still selling MiniDisc devices as serious competitors when the iPod was at its peak and only began shipping real competitors years after Apple's device was on the market. Until late in their life, MiniDisc Players often required loading files using Sony's ATRAC format rather than more popular AAC and MP3 tracks.
The format was always unusually popular in Japan. Many have seen overconfidence in this that ultimately led Apple to take control of the Japanese MP3 player market in the middle of the last decade, with Sony only just recovering years later. [via Impress]