The Sony Walkman has been voted the best gadget of the past 50 years in a recent poll by PC World Magazine in America.

When the blue and silver cassette player debuted in 1979 for $200 "no one had ever seen anything quite like it", the magazine noted. The first units had double headphone jacks to share music with friends, but that feature was eventually dropped.

Ranked second on the list is the Apple iPod showing how times might have changed, but it is personal music that every generation likes.

"If the Walkman is the aging king of portable media players, Apple`s iPod is prince regent", PC World proclaimed. ReplayTV and TiVo tied for third place, although both have failed to catch on here in the UK.

Fourth was PalmPilot 1000, the pioneer of the personal digital assistant.
No. 5 was Sony`s CDP-101, the first commercial compact disc player introduced that in 1982 "ushered in the age of digital sound" that cost $900.

The devices had to be relatively small (no cars or big-screen TVs, for example) and the magazine considered only those items whose digital descendants are covered in PC World. The magazine then rated each gadget on its usefulness, design, degree of innovation, and influence on subsequent gadgets, as well as the ineffable quality it called the "cool factor".