HMD’s new Barbie flip phone won’t be a smartphone

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One of HMD’s big announcements in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress today was its partnership with Mattel and its upcoming Barbie flip phone.

While the rise of foldable phones has seen some nice developments in smartphone form factors, the Barbie phone is not going to follow that script. HMD has confirmed that the device is designed to help change customer behaviour without the constant interruption of notifications.

“Is it time to swap reel life for real life and take a breather from all the interruptions of notifications? We’re thrilled to partner with Mattel, a company that shares our commitment to meaningful innovation and societal change.”

Lars Silberbauer, Human Mobile Devices Chief Marketing Officer

While there is no pricing or specs available yet for the new phone, there are a few details that we do know.

Barbie doll having apicnic with a dog and a toy Barbie phone to tease the HMD Barbie phone

First off, it will be pink. Naturally.

Second of all, it’s going to try and “flip the script on smartphone culture”. This places it firmly in feature phone territory.

According to the announcement, there is a growing shift away from smartphone culture. Data from GWI Core in Q3 2023 indicated that 38% of internet users aged 16-24 were worried they spent too much time on their smartphone.

Post-COVID lockdowns, there has been a shift in consumer behaviours, with more and more people looking for more balance in their lives.

HMD’s own data indicated that flip phone sales doubled in Europe over 2023, with expectations for even larger growth this year.

Pricing and availability

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of info on either front. HMD has stated a “Summer” release, which is undoubtedly a Northern Hemisphere season.

In Australia, we may have to way a little longer, or we may not. Who knows?

In the meantime, we know that Mattel seem pretty excited by the device.

“At the heart of Mattel is design and innovation, and this latest collaboration is another step forward in that direction. The Barbie x HMD launch promises to be an exciting moment for Barbie fans of all ages, we’re excited to flip the switch and unveil it to the world at Mobile World Congress.”

Ruth Henriquez, Head of Consumer Products, Publishing, and LBE, Mattel EMEA

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

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