The next Barbie will be internet-connected

Barbie’s not exactly known for being forward-thinking and modern – more regressive and gender-normative. But Mattel, the company who makes the ever-popular, ever-smiling miniature blonde bombshell, has announced a new, internet-connected version of the doll that will talk to its owner.

They’re currently working on Hello Barbie alongside ToyTalk, an American start-up specialising in speech recognition. Not only will children FINALLY get to hear what Barbie has to say, she’ll also react to what they’re talking about. (Rumours the government will use this to spy on us are as yet unconfirmed.)

She requires a Wi-Fi connection to work and comes with a microphone and speaker built in to her necklace, with rechargeable batteries in her legs. Fully charged, she lasts an hour, which doesn’t seem that long given how much energy most children have, but might suffice given they can also have short attention spans.

A Mattel spokesperson told the BBC, ‘The number one request we hear from girls around the world is that they want to have a conversation with Barbie. Now, for the first time ever, Barbie can have a two-way conversation.’ The doll will be able to play interactive games, and tell stories and jokes (which is more than you can say for some babysitters). She’ll also remember things that children say and bring them up later, just like a real friend (which your child should probably have, too)

There’s no word yet on when Hello Barbie will hit the shelves. However, the company did recently show off a prototype at the New York Toy Fair, with an estimated price of £49.

Image via Mike Mozart’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley