The Humble Cassette Player Gets a Modern-day Makeover, Sort Of

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There were a lot of things to hate about the humble cassette tape. The sound quality, the clunkiness, the endless winding back and forth looking for the right track, the limited play time, and the persistent, niggling fear of the tape unspooling inside the device … to name but a few.

Still, if you relish a bit of retro, or are simply curious to learn more about the first-world struggles of the older generation, then this contraption out of Hong Kong may be just the ticket.

Ninm Lab, which was also responsible for this offbeat camera gadget, describes its latest offering as “the world’s first Bluetooth portable cassette player.” Impressively, it’s managed to reach its $13,000 funding goal on Kickstarter in about the same time that it often took to locate a music track on an audio cassette — 24 hours.

The product is called It’s OK, though whether it really is OK depends much on your disposition and how you tend to approach sales pitches linked to items that went out of fashion with big hair, massively padded shoulders, and underwear as outerwear.

All right, it has Bluetooth 5.0 built in, so you won’t be messing about with a mass of wires. But because it uses audio cassettes, it’s almost certain that at some point you will be messing with a mass of thin brown tape as it unspools inside the cassette player during a particularly energetic jog or bike ride. The good news is that the device has a transparent case so you’ll be able to watch the tape emerge from its plastic housing in real time.

In fact, It’s OK comes with a tagline as mangled as some of those old tapes: “Reappearance of the romance of the 80s’ portable cassette in more perfection.” The device will sell in three colors — cloud white, sakura pink, and evening blue — and includes a record button, too, so you can log all of your thoughts regarding the quality of your decision-making when it comes to backing retro-inspired devices on crowdfunding sites.

If you do decide to fund It’s OK and then realize you don’t have any cassettes to play on it, our advice is to hit eBay. A quick search just now pulled up a compilation of festive songs for $2.50, a Harold Faltermeyer effort for $6, and a limited-edition Sheena Easton collection for $15.

The It’s OK portable cassette player costs $63, with shipping planned for December 2019. As always, though, be sure to exercise caution when coughing up cash for a crowdfunded project.

For more ideas on what to back on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, check out Digital Trends’ guide to some of the best campaigns running right now.






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