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Tape runs out for Sony's portable cassette recorders

It's the end of an era for one iconic device, but Sony plans to continue selling blank cassette tapes, tape decks, and boomboxes with cassette support -- for now.

The TCM-450 -- one of Sony's last cassette tape recorders.

Did one or two of your childhood crushes ever make you a treacly mix tape? Chances are good you listened to it -- over and over and over again -- on your Sony portable cassette player.

If so, it's time to get sentimental. Last week, a nondescript announcement out of Sony's Japanese division sounded a death knell for the portable cassette recorder/player -- a product category that helped the company rise to prominence decades ago.

The consumer electronics giant detailed how its current line of portable cassette recorders -- including the TCM-400, TCM-410, and TCM-450 -- stand as the company's last and will be discontinued by January. In a side announcement, a Sony representative noted that the company plans to continue selling blank cassette tapes, tape decks, and boomboxes with cassette support -- for now.

We've contacted Sony U.S. about the production stoppage and will update this post when we hear back.

In 1966, Sony sold its first cassette tapes (the C-60 and C-90), and later that year released the TC-100, its first cassette tape recorder. Cassette recording saw a huge spike in popularity with the 1973 introduction of the TC-2850SD "Densuke" portable cassette tape recorder. It created legions of live recording enthusiasts in Japan and changed the portable recording industry forever through its high audio quality, durability, and handy shoulder strap.

Similar to many other analog products of the past, the act of recording to a cassette tape started its downward trend in usage and popularity after the '80s, as the proliferation of digital formats such as CDs, MiniDisc, and MP3 players gave consumers access to bigger storage options, faster recording, and higher-fidelity options.

Got any good memories of recording to a cassette?

(Via CNET Australia)