Mattel has created an MP3 player that looks like a doll and can be transformed into live characters at BarbieGirls.com.

The site BarbieGirls.com, launched last week, is an online community for girls that allows users to interact in a similar way to Second Life.

With the Barbie Girls toy/MP3 player, which can be used in conjunction with the site, Mattel is aiming to target the same audience that buy MGA Entertainment’s Bratz dolls.

The music players are capable of holding 120 MP3s or 240 WMAs. They will be available in the US from July priced at $60 (£30). The company is yet to confirm a UK release date.

After registration at the BarbieGirls.com site, members can design their own Barbie avatar, customise their room, purchase items at the shopping centre, explore and communicate with friends.

Registration is free and Mattel reassures it will remain this way too. The site prevents personal information being disclosed and has limited the vocabulary that can be used to 2,000 words to avoid strong language being used.