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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

HMD is making a Barbie flip cellphone alongside a smartphone for tinkerers

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HMD is crossing its fingers for a second summer of Barbie. The corporate, which has completely offered telephones below the Nokia model title for the previous seven years, has introduced plans to launch a Barbie-branded flip cellphone this July in partnership with Mattel. It’s considered one of a number of gadgets HMD has on the best way for this summer time, which additionally embrace a brand new Nokia-branded retro function cellphone, and an HMD-branded smartphone. Lastly, the corporate has additionally introduced early plans for a brand new improvement platform it’s calling “HMD Fusion.”

No pricing, specs, or options have been introduced for the as-yet-unnamed Barbie cellphone, however anticipate it to be a standard function flip cellphone slightly than a smartphone. In an interview, HMD’s world head of perception, proposition, and product advertising Adam Ferguson confirms it’ll be an all-new machine. “Barbie’s just isn’t the type of model that you simply go, right here’s an off-the-shelf resolution,” he says.

Count on a flip function cellphone bearing the Barbie title.
Picture: HMD

The collaboration is an extension of the plans first announced in September, during which the Finnish firm (now styling itself as “Human Cellular Units” slightly than merely “HMD”) mentioned it deliberate to maneuver away from completely producing Nokia-branded merchandise to promoting gadgets below its personal title, in addition to collaborating with “thrilling new companions.” Mattel is the primary such accomplice, however Ferguson says it gained’t be the final.

“Are there different partnerships different than simply working with Mattel? Completely. Are they as huge, and triple-A as Mattel? Completely. Can I inform you what these are at this level? Completely not.”

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As for the own-branded cellphone, the corporate isn’t prepared to speak specifics, however we all know that it’ll additionally be coming this summer time. The announcement comes just a little over a month after 91Mobiles leaked images of a smartphone that appears similar to the corporate’s current Nokia telephones, albeit with an HMD brand the place the Nokia one was once.

None of this implies HMD is ditching the Nokia branding solely, and Ferguson denied that HMD is exploring different model names due to any decline within the reputation of the Nokia title. “It’s completely not that we predict that there’s a lessening of the facility there,” Ferguson says, “It’s simply that there’s, from the enterprise HMD standpoint, now we have the chance to do extra… with this multi-brand technique.”

The corporate says it plans to “convey again an iconic cellphone this summer time,” just like its different retro revivals of gadgets just like the Nokia 3310 and Nokia 8110

Away from branding bulletins, HMD had a few extra product-focused initiatives to announce. Probably the most attention-grabbing of those is HMD Fusion, a brand new smartphone-style machine that HMD is pitching as a DIY platform for tinkerers. Like Moto Mods, however it’s important to make and program your individual equipment.

Basically, HMD’s purpose with the Fusion is to supply the sorts of tinkering potentialities of a Raspberry Pi, however within the kind issue of a smartphone full with a built-in display and battery. It achieves this with an array of six pogo pins on the again of the machine, that are designed to permit the attachment of {hardware} equipment. For software program it’s working Android with an unlocked bootloader, and HMD is asking the sorts of {hardware} you would possibly construct across the machine “outfits.” Between them, HMD’s ambition is to offer a tool that finish customers and even companies can customise to go well with their wants.

“Let’s say, for instance, you’re working within the medical subject and also you want to have the ability to assist take a look at folks’s blood,” Ferguson says. “You’ve gotten a software program service, you will have an app that you simply want, however it wants {hardware} connected. It may be costly and other people gained’t essentially know the right way to use it. You construct an outfit primarily based on this, for the Fusion machine, and it will possibly then do the blood take a look at, compute it, work out whether or not it is advisable to e book an appointment and all of that type of stuff.” Different concepts Ferguson mentions are constructing a case with built-in flashing notification lights, or a streaming accent with a inbuilt prime quality microphone and stream controls.

For now, HMD is simply saying the Fusion platform and is releasing preliminary designs and specs for the machine to permit would-be tinkerers to begin fascinated by how they may prefer to make use of it, however Ferguson warns that these specs might change as folks begin feeding again in regards to the firm’s plans.

Rounding out its MWC bulletins, HMD additionally reaffirmed that it’s plowing forward with the repairability initiative it kicked off with the Nokia G22 at last year’s MWC, and that this initiative may even apply to its HMD-branded gadgets. The corporate’s goal is for half of the telephones it sells this yr to be simply repairable, and it’s additionally particularly bettering how repairable the screens of its gadgets are. “The truth that it we’ve completed it with out glue and all of that was was an excellent step for the time, however it wanted to be higher,” Ferguson says. However though he says it’s “significantly better” this time round, we’ll have to attend for the precise announcement of the machine to learn how.

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