The Smallest Discman Ever Made Was Smaller Than a CD

YouTube // Technmoan
YouTube // Technmoan / YouTube // Technmoan

Starting in the 1980s, Sony produced the Discman, a CD version of its popular cassette Walkman player. I had a Sony Discman or two in the 1990s, and they were pretty boring—typically clamshell-shaped plastic players with a handful of buttons and a place to slap some AA batteries. But the Sony D-88 was different. It was a portable CD player that was too narrow to fit a CD inside.

Yeah, let's back up a little.

Your typical compact disc (CD) has a diameter of 120mm, or 4.72 inches. But there's also a much less common Mini CD format, usually sized at 80mm (3.15 inches). These Mini CDs were sometimes used for CD singles, or bundled with computer devices for their drivers, or as gimmicks at tradeshows. They're also the reason tray-based CD players have multiple circular cut-outs in the tray: The smaller discs can fit in the middle, and the spindle comes through the middle and grabs them. (The spindle cut-out is the same size regardless of total CD diameter.)

Sony's D-88 Discman, introduced in 1988, imagined a world in which the Mini CD might actually be popular, and that people would carry around a bunch of CD singles. Sadly, this was never a world I inhabited, but it is a little fascinating to imagine. What's far weirder is that the D-88 can play a full-size CD, with the spinning disc sticking out on two sides, whirring away, ready to crack into bits. What could possibly go wrong?! Here's an excellent Techmoan video explaining the whole mess:

As the video mentions near the end, Sony had done this kind of thing before with a Walkman too small for a tape (my family had one! You just popped it open to expand it to regular size), and even a record player too small for an LP (which was kind of awesome, since at least it wasn't designed to go in your pocket).

Okay, let's hear it, commenters. Did anybody own one of these gadgets? If so, what CD singles were you listening to?