El Segundo, Calif. — Mattel will introduce a doll-inspired MP3 player this summer based on a line extension of its famous Barbie franchise.
The 4.5-inch Barbie Girls device has 512 MB of onboard memory and an expandable miniSD slot that accepts up to a 2 GB memory card. The unit can play any non-DRM-encrypted MP3 or WMA files, comes loaded with Windows Media Player 11, and has a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery that charges via a USB port. Mattel would not indicate the supplier.
The music players, available in three styles, take the form of the company’s new Barbie Girls pre-teen characters, and feature removable faceplates that allow the devices to double as customizable dolls.
Mattel said the players will hit toy stores and discount chains in July, and will appear within the CE specialty and e-tail channels this fall. The devices will be packaged with adjustable-sized earbuds, a belt clip and a durable storage case, and will sell for about $60 at retail. Accessory packs featuring various fashions, accessories, clip-on “pets” and exclusive content will be sold separately for $10.
The portable music player is one element of a comprehensive Barbie Girls platform that also includes an online virtual world where girls can create a highly personalized avatar, design their own apartment, shop at a virtual mall with "B Bucks," play games, view videos and chat live with other girls. Connecting the MP3 player to a PC unlocks additional mix-and-match permutations, which in total number in the quadrillions, Mattel said.