One of a new genre of kids' toys that rely on tiny, inexpensive microprocessors, Mattel's Barbie Photo Designer Digital Camera and CD-ROM is bound to be a must-have for girls ages 6 to 10. That's not to say that boys wouldn't find the camera interesting as well, although there is that pink daisy encircling the lens and the pink wrist strap. The gadget, which retails for around $70, is powered by a 9-volt battery.
The Barbie digital cam stores up to six low-resolution digital pictures in its memory when away from a computer, but it can take an unlimited number of photos when it's tethered to a PC by a serial-port cable.
After connecting the camera to the computer, junior photo enthusiasts can upload photos automatically and save them to the PC's hard drive. The software allows kids to create scrapbooks, postcards and short movies and to edit photos and e-mail them to friends.
The software, which uses Barbie's voice to guide kids through its four programs, also allows users to superimpose pictures into a collection of 25 themed settings, such as Barbie driving her racy red sports car. Using a color inkjet printer, kids can print out their photos and turn them into stickers or postcards.
The camera and software require a multimedia PC running at least a 90-megahertz Pentium, 16 megabytes of RAM, quad speed CD-ROM and Windows 95.