This fall, HTC is expected to release a smartphone for women. Codenamed Bliss -- yes, the same name as the Hershey's chocolate -- the phone will highlight things that are reportedly of interest to women, including shopping comparison software and, ahem, calorie counting apps. This is the epitome of a train wreck -- and, if the information is accurate, HTC needs to come to its senses before it unleashes the Bliss on Verizon (V).
An HTC source gave This Is My Next details on the phone:
- Sea or forest green in color
- Custom "stylish" Bluetooth headset
- Hanging "charm indicator" to connect phone to purse
- Preinstalled with apps of interest to women
There are two faulty assumptions here: That women need special apps and that women need a special phone.
Pre-installing weight watching, shopping, or other stereotypical apps will probably insult, and not engage, the very female audience HTC wants. It's the equivalent of pre-installing an NBA app for black customers.
Furthermore, women don't need a special phone. The New York Times reported as far back as 2008 that one out of three smartphone owners was a woman, and, according to Nielsen, these numbers have only increased.
A 2011 Nielsen report on technology found:
In particular, women are most likely to adopt new technology when it is social and relevant-that is, when it seamlessly improves their day-to-day lives... With many tech products, females-especially younger women-are just as likely to upgrade their consumer electronics as males.
By creating a phone for women, HTC assumes that women aren't comfortable using smartphones. I would be interested to see what its' idea of a phone for men would look like.