First appearing in the 1950s, transistor radios are still available, as shown in a video describing Sony’s ICF-P26 & P27.

Spencer Chin, Senior Editor

February 7, 2023

When one thinks of portable consumer electronics that are now largely obsolete, portable CD players, minidisc players, and portable cassette tape players are products that immediately come to mind. But there’s one product that preceded these products that miraculously is still around: the transistor radio.

First invented in 1954 by Regency, transistor radios were an early application of the ubiquitous transistor. These products are relatively simple: a single sided circuit, an AM ferrite bar antenna, tuning cap, ceramic filter, a few coils, controls, a tiny speaker, and a single chip.

While buzzy and poor sounding compared to today’s audio products, these devices gave many baby boomers a handy, go-to battery-powered device to listen to ballgames or music growing up. One company long identified with transistor radios, Sony, still sells transistor radios, which are available on Amazon.

Transistor radios are still around after 70 years.

Sony is selling two models—the ICF-P26 based on an analog tuner chip, and the ICF-P27 which uses a digital tuning chip. The ICF-P26 may no longer be in stock, according to the video.

In fact, Amazon lists several transistor radios on its site, both from Sony and several other manufacturers.

You can see both Sony transistor radios in the following video.


About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News, covering the electronics beat, which includes semiconductors, components, power, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and other related subjects. He is always open to ideas for coverage. Spencer has spent many years covering electronics for brands including Electronic Products, Electronic Buyers News, EE Times, Power Electronics, and electronics360. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him at @spencerchin.

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