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article imageOp-Ed: Android makes 'girl friendly' phone, raises eyebrows

By Stephanie Medeiros     Aug 17, 2011 in Technology
Recently, TechCrunch covered the soon-to-be Verizon released Android phone that is “women friendly”--since, you know, a woman’s capacity to understand technology is far less superior than a man’s.
The reported phone, called the HTC Bliss, would come in an women-appeasing "seafoam green,” and be preloaded with apps that are supposedly targeted toward women: shopping, weight loss and beauty apps.
I’m sorry, but, are they serious?
Android and Verizon aren't the first to try and leverage “women friendly” technology to us ladies. In fact, Dell had the bright idea of building a laptop just for women. It was affectionately named the Della and was a horrible disaster which they tried to bury and forget immediately after announcing it.
Then there were the Techlicious awards in 2009, which celebrated "tech-friendly gadgets for women." Sony's Vaio P-Series Lifestyle PC was a finalist simply on the merit that it could easily fit into a woman's purse. No, I'm not making this up.
It seems as though tech execs find the woman to be a simplistic creature, easily persuaded by pretty colors and the chance to have cellphone charms or accessories for their gadgets. In 2009, women accounted for sixty-six percent of PC purchases according to Technorati, and I doubt all of those PC's were pink or seafoam green.
The prospect of women-specific gadgets is also demeaning to our intelligence. The focus of these products is not the function or usability, but rather how much you can spend on extra accessories and be “fashion forward” with your hot pink laptop. It is as if these tech companies pat us on the head and direct us to the sandbox while “talking to adults” with the men.
And to say that the target market for the Bliss isn't 20-somethings or older women, but rather teenaged girls, is still silly. The advertising is directed at all women, of all ages, and is still fueled on the proponent that women just don't understand technology and could possibly never understand what makes each phone different in the smartphone arena--they just want the cute one that comes in different colors.
The tech sector is not a Boy’s Club and shouldn't be touted as so, and cellphones should not be assigned genders. Consumer electronics aren't built on the idea that a certain model will go to a girl and another to a boy, they are all made to beat out the competition. Trying to sell something to a certain demographic, and playing up major stereotypes to earn revenue, is a gimmick better suited to late night infomercials and not a usually progressive multi-billion dollar industry.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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