R.I.P. Tape Decks In Cars: The End Of An Era Arrives

If some of your fondest memories include road-tripping across the U.S. while flipping cassette after cassette of your favorite tunes, the next sentence will make you very sad.

According to the New York Times, new cars will no longer come with a pre-installed tape deck.

"For the 2011 model year, no manufacturer selling cars in the United States offers a tape player either as standard equipment or as an option on a new vehicle. The most recent choice for a factory cassette deck was the 2010 Lexus SC 430," the Times reports.

Cassettes, once a dominant audio format, are now but a novelty. Indeed, 2010 not only saw the end of the tape slot in cars, but also saw Sony ship its last batch of cassette Walkmans.

The Times indicates that CDs may be spinning their way into obsolescence, right behind compact cassettes and their eight-track predecessors. "The iPod and its ilk are easing the journey along the path to the increasingly popular concept of file storage known as the cloud -- that place in the Internet ether from which music is streamed, generally through a Web-connected mobile device that communicates with the car by a wireless Bluetooth connection," writes the Times.

Meanwhile, if you're a driver who doesn't mind juggling a stack of cassettes, you can still purchase and install a tape deck on your own. The question is: for how much longer?