A shiny new handset from HMD Global teased on the eve of MWC24 will carry Barbie branding, and unsurprisingly, will be launched this summer in bright sparkling pink.

The Barbie Flip Phone, according to HMD, “will offer style, nostalgia and a much-needed digital detox. This retro-style feature phone will flip the script on smartphone culture and be this summer’s hottest accessory”.

Commenting on the partnership, Lars Silberbauer, CMO at HMD, said that Barbie was the hottest and most searched for merchandise in the US at present. “So of course we hope to capitalise on that having struck a great collaboration deal with Mattel, the owners of Barbie.”

The HMD exec stressed its existing agreement with Nokia to use the iconic name was still strong, but “we want to become a brand owner and launch a multi-brand strategy,” he added.

“We believe that there are audiences that we cannot serve with just the one brand, and we want to make sure that we can innovate at our own speed, and not at a pace where it was decided by licencing agreements.”

This move to co-brand a handset using the Barbie name will, according to Silberbauer, will be the first of many collaborations with major brand names. The company strongly indicated that more were in the pipeline for this year, but declined to offer names or actual timing.

“You will see HMD launch several other big brand partnerships this year. The whole focus is basically going into a multi-brand strategy, which we believe can serve more audiences and consumer segments.”