05. 01. 2007
Barbie MP3 Player
File this under "What took them so long?"
Mattel introduced a new line of Barbie MP3 players that come with their own accessories and link up to the new Barbie Girls web site, still in beta. It's a virtual world of all-things Barbie for the younger set. Designed to look like Barbie dolls, the four-and-a-half-inch tall MP3 players have 512MB of memory and an expandable miniSD slot for up to a 2GB memory card. Mattel boasts it is the first global, virtual online world designed exclusively for girls. At BarbieGirls.com, girls can create their own virtual character, design their own "room," shop at the mall, play games, hang out and chat live with other girls.
For a virtual chat, Mattel claims it ensures that the girls are close friends by requiring one of them to physically connect their Barbie Girls MP3 player to the friend's computer. (I think it's just a marketing plan to sell as many as possible.)
What you also learn from reading their press release is that to "ensure girls' safety in public chats," Mattel devised a limited vocabulary of 2,000 words the girls can use on the site, designed to prevent use of sexual language, profanity or hurtful words such as "stupid" or "hate."
Filters also prevent users from giving out personal information including names, phone numbers or even the cities where they live. Only in private chats ( Secret B Chats) with a "bff" can a girl divulge personal information. Most web-savvy girls already know that but I guess if a three year old is playing, it makes sense.
Reviving the Barbie brand is a major priority for Mattel, which has seen her former target audience defect to those slutty Bratz dolls, and also to high-tech items such as iPods and video games. However, I think they're totally underestimating their audience, who already have iPods, a SIMS virtual world, and want real tech toys. Their real target audience is the scared parents, who are going to like all the safety features, offering a safe online world.
The Barbie MP3 player will go on sale in July for $59.99, although the beta site is open now.
Via Beta News.