HMD teases Barbie flip phone aimed at reducing social media use

HMD Barbie flip phone teaser
Image: supplied.

HMD has kicked things off at Mobile Word Congress (MWC) with a teaser of its latest device: a Barbie flip phone.

Yes, you read that correctly, we’re getting a Barbie phone in the year 2024. It follows HMD refreshing its branding to drop the “Global” from its name and adopt “Human Mobile Devices” as the meaning behind the acronym.

Although there aren’t many details about the HMD Barbie phone just yet, expect it to feature “a dash of pink” and sparkles as part of its design. In recent years, HMD has made phones under the well-known Nokia branding, with a focus on sustainability and repairability. Both the Nokia G22 and Nokia G42 let you source replacement parts and tools via iFixit for DIY repairs.

A Barbie phone in a Barbie world

Aside from riding the heightened popularity following the 2023 Barbie movie, HMD’s collaboration with Mattel appears to serve an additional purpose. Citing GWI research, HMD positions the Barbie phone as a digital detoxing solution. According to the research, nearly 40% of people aged between 16 and 24 worry about spending too much time on smartphones.

Flip phones have been suggested as an example of “feature phones”, handsets designed to have fewer features, instead focusing on texts and calls. It also removes the allure of social media apps designed to hold your attention. It’s a reversal from the era of smartphones, devices packed with increasingly more power and access to all manner of apps.

Barbie flip phone HMD
Image: supplied.

Although flip phones have seen a resurgence, it’s typically followed the smartphone format. Devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr use foldable display technology that still supports most apps. Conversely, the feature phone trend reduces screen sizes and brings back the physical keyboard.

Expect to see more details soon, including when you’ll be able to become a Barbie girl, living in a Barbie world. A “summer 2024” window is all we know so far, which would likely align with Australia’s winter.

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