Would a "Women's" Phone be a Marketing Flub for HTC?

6 years ago

Rumors about a new Android phone marketed specifically to women have hit the news lately. The rumored phone is the HTC Bliss. Tech reports like this one at Time's Techland show us an Android phone in "calming" color schemes, preloaded with apps all the ladies are sure to love – like calorie counters – and equipped with dangling charms that light up when you have a call.

The reactions of female bloggers to this rumor suggest that HTC's ideas of how to market tech gadgets to women may be off base.

Spydergrrl wrote What NOT to Buy a Geek Mom for Mother's Day (or: Why I Hate Tech Targeted "To Women").

All this stereotyping might be good for brainstorming sessions, but it just annoys the heck out of me. I can't handle when companies think they are catering to me, and they are just getting it all wrong and insulting me in the process.

Spydergrrl also points out:

Women are not afraid of technology or hardware. The general female population has figured out the Internet and texting and PVRs and computers. We are not morons. Some of us are even good at tech! Heck, some of us even write about it! Imagine that!

At The Mary Sue, Jamie Frevele says, "Oh, marketing. Just stop." and points out,

Um, I actually have a Droid X (on Verizon) and had no idea it wasn’t geared for my delicate lady sensibilities. As far as I know, my delicate little lady hands can work the keyboard just fine. And when it makes sounds at me, I don’t get all freaked out by it because I have a variety of fun sounds to choose from. I mean, was I not supposed to pay attention to their advertising? Nothing in the product description signaled that I and other female humans weren’t meant to buy this phone. Was it the robots? That scary “DROID” sound?

At This is My Next Joanna Stern has trouble even believing the rumor. In HTC Bliss: a Verizon Android phone for women? she writes,

To be honest, we’ve had a really hard time believing some of this information — not because there’s anything here that’s technically impossible or because we didn’t trust our source, but because we simply can’t imagine a company creating a phone specifically for American women in this day and age . . .

Sarah Perez goes so far as to call the design idea clueless in HTC Bliss: An Android Phone Designed for Women, by Clueless Men. She jokes about the "calming" color scheme.

The HTC Bliss will also have a greenish-gray rubber back so "women can have a better grip of the phone," writes Joanna Stern, explaining one of the phone's differentiating features. I'm not sure how that's a feature with female appeal, but there you have it.

The phone will be thin (.54 inches), and will sport "calming" wallpapers in addition to the "calming" green tones of the phone itself. The overuse of "calming" by HTC to describe the device, frankly, is bordering on offensive.

DO I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO NEEDS TO BE CALMED?

Oh.

More seriously, Sarah goes on the talk about the recent release of the iPhone in white and how that may be driving Apple's competition to come up with an idea that will set them apart from the iPhone.

If HTC has been testing the waters by letting these rumors leak about the phone for women, I think they're getting the feedback they need: women don't want to be treated any differently when it comes to tech. Just make it do the job, that's all we need.

Virginia DeBolt, BlogHer Section Editor for Tech
virginia.debolt@blogher.com

Virginia blogs at Web Teacher and First 50 Words.

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