What Connects a PlayStation Vita to a Walkman? A Designer.

Sony would consider itself very lucky if the PlayStation Vita has the same staying power as the Walkman, which celebrated its 30th anniversary two years ago.

Though it won’t arrive in the U.S. until Feb. 22, Sony’s newest handheld gaming device has stumbled out of the starting gate in Japan. The device sold 321,400 units in two days, but on Monday, Sony issued an apologetic statement after complaints emerged that the Vita was freezing and crashing.

But, for what it’s worth, there is a common thread between the two products: Sony’s new gadget was developed in part by one of the original creators of one of the most successful consumer-electronics devices of all time.

As the PlayStation blog reports today, the look and feel of the Vita was designed by Takashi Sogabe of the Sony Corporate Design Centre. It also notes that Sogabe, who has been at the company for 27 years, worked on the original Walkman.

While it probably isn’t entirely accurate that he worked on the original Walkman (since it came before Sogabe’s time), a bio on Sony’s Web site gives him credit for a “See-through Walkman,” and a “Beautiful Walkman.” He also worked on the PlayStation 3 and Sony’s e-reader.

The PlayStation blog will be posting a full interview with Sogabe later, but today’s post did offer some details.

Sogabe said the design team came up with various versions of the Vita, including one with a sliding back, and another that snapped shut like a clamshell.

He also said that they tried to incorporate two touchpads in place of the dual analog sticks, but that they weren’t accurate enough.

(Takashi Sogabe image courtesy of Sony)

(Walkman images courtesy of Wikipedia)

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus