Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Barbie themed phone coming from HMD and Mattel

HMD seems full of hopes for a second wind of Barbie this summer. The company, which has been selling phones exclusively under the Nokia brand for seven years, announced that it plans to launch a Barbie-branded foldable phone this July in partnership with Mattel. This device is just one of several new devices they have planned for the summer; others include a new Nokia-branded retro feature phone and an HMD-branded smartphone. Additionally, the company announced early plans for a new development platform it calls “HMD Fusion.”

The name, price, features or technical details of the Barbie phone have not been announced yet, but it is expected to be a traditional feature foldable phone. HMD’s global head of insight, offering and product marketing, Adam Ferguson, confirmed that this device will be an entirely new device. “For a brand like Barbie, you don’t say, here’s a shelving solution,” says Ferguson.

The collaboration marks an extension of plans first announced in September, with the Finnish company saying it now plans to sell devices under its own name and collaborate with “exciting new partners” rather than just producing Nokia-branded products. While Mattel is the first partner, Ferguson states that there will be other partnerships, but they will not be announced at this time.

HMD’s multi-brand strategy

The company has not yet provided specific information about its own branded phone, but it is known that it will be released this summer. This announcement comes just over a month after 91Mobiles leaked images of a smartphone that looks very similar to the company’s existing Nokia phones, but with the HMD logo replacing the Nokia logo.

It doesn’t mean HMD is abandoning the Nokia brand altogether, and Ferguson denies claims that HMD is exploring other brand names amid a decline in the popularity of the Nokia name. “It’s certainly not the case that we think there’s a decline in Nokia’s strength,” Ferguson said. “We have the opportunity to do more as an HMD business with this multi-brand strategy,” he says. he adds.

The company says it plans to “bring back an iconic phone” this summer, a move similar to the revival of other retro devices like the Nokia 3310 and Nokia 8110.

Beyond brand announcements, HMD announced several other product-focused initiatives. The most interesting of these is HMD Fusion, which HMD offers as a DIY platform. It’s similar to Moto Mods, but you have to make and program your own accessories.

The goal with HMD Fusion is to deliver the kind of tinkering that the Raspberry Pi offers, in a smartphone form factor with a built-in display and battery. The device aims to achieve this goal with six pogo pins on the back that allow hardware accessories to be attached. The device, which runs the Android operating system and comes with an unlocked bootloader, aims to offer a device that users or even businesses can customize to suit their needs.

Danish Kapoor