Toymaker Matel just finished a "makeover" for one of the style icons of all time - Barbie. The inclusion of an MP3 player and virtual world avatar in the doll shaped player are hoped to stem a 5 year decline in sales.

Following on from Webkinz and of course MP3 players, this toy "aspiration figure" (it's a Simspons reference - see Lisa Lionheart) will seek to compete with the, rather more edgy, Bratz line of dolls.

The firm also launched BarbieGirls.com where kids can create their own virtual Barbie doll and even take it to the virtual mall. The inclusion of a social networking space for young girls is an even braver move (even with the extra security measures).

Should be great to watch how social commentators place the new tech savvy Barbie as an intellectual compared to the high-boots short-skirt vacuous Bratz. Even though the reverse is probably more true.