July 10, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

You go, girl gadgeteer

(continued from previous page)

If there's a theme, it seems women are attracted to portable gadgets like cell phones, digital cameras and notebook computers, which, according to NPD's Baker, "tend to do better with women than big, desktop, stationary kinds of products."

A study released in June found that women represent 59 percent of all U.S. mobile gamers. Then, of course, there are iPods, which enjoy a particularly loyal following among women, Hughes observed.

Gina Hughes
Credit: Gina Hughes
Gina Hughes, aka "Techie Diva."

"Women don't want anything but an iPod," she said. "Most of them won't go outside the iPod circle for an MP3 player."

Part of the appeal has to do with the abundance of iPod accessories, Hughes says. Another factor? Advertising. "The way that Apple advertises...they advertise hip. It doesn't seem like a nerdy thing. It's hip. It's fashion."

Though iPods are popular with women--anecdotally, the iPod Mini, when it came out, appealed to women more than the original player--men are still more likely to have one of the players, at least according to a 2005 study by Pew Internet & American Life. That survey found that 13 percent of men had an iPod or other MP3 player, compared with 9 percent of women.

But women aren't just buying phones and digital accessories for themselves, they're getting them as gifts. Consumer-electronics sales increased 9 percent the week before Mother's Day this year from the same week in 2005, according to The NPD Group, which found that purchases rose just 3 percent the week before Father's Day this year.

The numbers indicate that not only are moms becoming more technologically savvy, but dads and kids are more willing to invest in technology for the women in their lives, according to Baker. Even gifts traditionally associated with men, like mobile navigation devices and satellite radios, sold well leading up to Mother's Day this year.

"My best advice would be to not condescend to women, to really think about what it is women do on a daily basis."
--Designer Steffi Card

Such data would undoubtedly delight Alison Lewis. A latecomer to the tech world, Lewis is now doing her part to spread the tech-chick gospel, through Switch, an online do-it-yourself show for women. The site hosts how-to videos that teach fellow females to create practical, aesthetic and unabashedly girly gadgets, such as a purse light or a talking picture frame.

"People have magazines, but there's nothing out there geared toward women that gets them excited about electronics," said Lewis, a 30-something designer who by day teaches classes on fashion and technology at Parsons Institute of Design in New York City. "There's nothing in the middle between hard-core do-it-yourself technology books and sites, and craft Web sites or books. Everything (out there) is how to do stuff with crazy electronics that women don't like."

So what, exactly, do women like?

Asked to name her own favorite gadgets, Lewis paused before confessing that she's generally dissatisfied with what's currently on offer from consumer-electronics companies.

"Everything is hard and cold still," she said. "They're not appealing to females."

For instance, she added, "Why does a phone have to be so hard? Why can't it wrap around my wrist? It can, but no one's done it yet."

Some of her favorite devices involve the use of advanced textiles to create soft, touchable interfaces. Lewis says she likes Eleksen Smart Fabric Touchpads for bags and backpacks that let consumers insert an iPod and control it remotely from one of the straps.

See more CNET content tagged:
consumer electronics, women, gadget, NPD Group Inc., girl

44 comments

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Same old
So you buy a lot of gadgets. That doesn't make you any more cool than if you bought a lot of purses, or shoes, or shot glasses, or Precious Moments statues.
Posted by MrNougat (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Same old
So you buy a lot of gadgets. That doesn't make you any more cool than if you bought a lot of purses, or shoes, or shot glasses, or Precious Moments statues.
Posted by MrNougat (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Techie divas aren't gadgeteers...
Unfortunately, to judge from the latest several entries, the "Techie Diva" blog doesn't overcome any stereotypes -- it's deeply mired in the notion that real females shouldn't care how technology works or what it does for people, only how it gives you a feeling of glamorous fashionableness.
Posted by mcugaedu (75 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Absolutely Wrong
mcugaedu, Like you said, you were judging from the latest blog entries, and not the whole. Of course I care how technology works, otherwise why would I care to buy it or waste my time writing about it? I started Techie Diva almost two years ago because at that time, there were not many publications available for your average female to stay updated on the latest bits of tech. If I thought "that real females shouldn't care how technology works or what it does for people" I would've never started a blog about personal technology.

I do indulge in covering some "glamorous" pieces of tech (and what blogger doesn't), but I also do my homework and offer people "How to" advice. Most gadget blogs (think Gizmodo or Engadget) cover the same topics I cover on my blog, does that mean they also don't care how tech works or what it does for people? I don't think so. Some of us are just having fun with technology in different ways.
Posted by techiedivas (4 comments )
Link Flag
This female Agrees With you to an extent....
As I will have to agree. However, you have take into consideration that any intelligent woman will do her research on a product even after reading about it on a site who's main purpose is to present gadgets, without any real expert opinion. Would you purchase a laptop because it was pretty or cool or because another site recommended it? I know I wouldn't and sadly enough, we run into proprieters of these site who do not have any experience in computer networking, or over all knowledge. So, having said that, gadget sites are nothing more than "eye candy" presentation sites whose purpose is to put a female slant on devices. Any self respecting female techie would do their home work (Consumer Reports) and other respected resources when it comes to making any big ticket purchase such as a computer.
Posted by gman63 (11 comments )
Link Flag
this male disagrees
this male disagrees. "glamorous fashionableness" doesn't have to
be mutually exclusive from understanding how technology works. i
have two daughters and they both love gadgets that probably
would be considered a little glamorous. but both of them could
probably also run circles around most people when it comes to
knowing about computers and other technology. thanks for the
good article.
Posted by dudley18 (5 comments )
Link Flag
this male disagrees
this male disagrees. "glamorous fashionableness" doesn't have to
be mutually exclusive from understanding how technology works. i
have two daughters and they both love gadgets that probably
would be considered a little glamorous. but both of them could
probably also run circles around most people when it comes to
knowing about computers and other technology. thanks for the
good article.
Posted by dudley18 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Techie divas aren't gadgeteers...
Unfortunately, to judge from the latest several entries, the "Techie Diva" blog doesn't overcome any stereotypes -- it's deeply mired in the notion that real females shouldn't care how technology works or what it does for people, only how it gives you a feeling of glamorous fashionableness.
Posted by mcugaedu (75 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Absolutely Wrong
mcugaedu, Like you said, you were judging from the latest blog entries, and not the whole. Of course I care how technology works, otherwise why would I care to buy it or waste my time writing about it? I started Techie Diva almost two years ago because at that time, there were not many publications available for your average female to stay updated on the latest bits of tech. If I thought "that real females shouldn't care how technology works or what it does for people" I would've never started a blog about personal technology.

I do indulge in covering some "glamorous" pieces of tech (and what blogger doesn't), but I also do my homework and offer people "How to" advice. Most gadget blogs (think Gizmodo or Engadget) cover the same topics I cover on my blog, does that mean they also don't care how tech works or what it does for people? I don't think so. Some of us are just having fun with technology in different ways.
Posted by techiedivas (4 comments )
Link Flag
This female Agrees With you to an extent....
As I will have to agree. However, you have take into consideration that any intelligent woman will do her research on a product even after reading about it on a site who's main purpose is to present gadgets, without any real expert opinion. Would you purchase a laptop because it was pretty or cool or because another site recommended it? I know I wouldn't and sadly enough, we run into proprieters of these site who do not have any experience in computer networking, or over all knowledge. So, having said that, gadget sites are nothing more than "eye candy" presentation sites whose purpose is to put a female slant on devices. Any self respecting female techie would do their home work (Consumer Reports) and other respected resources when it comes to making any big ticket purchase such as a computer.
Posted by gman63 (11 comments )
Link Flag
this male disagrees
this male disagrees. "glamorous fashionableness" doesn't have to
be mutually exclusive from understanding how technology works. i
have two daughters and they both love gadgets that probably
would be considered a little glamorous. but both of them could
probably also run circles around most people when it comes to
knowing about computers and other technology. thanks for the
good article.
Posted by dudley18 (5 comments )
Link Flag
this male disagrees
this male disagrees. "glamorous fashionableness" doesn't have to
be mutually exclusive from understanding how technology works. i
have two daughters and they both love gadgets that probably
would be considered a little glamorous. but both of them could
probably also run circles around most people when it comes to
knowing about computers and other technology. thanks for the
good article.
Posted by dudley18 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Great Marketing Job being done.....
"Gadgets make you look cool"

After reading that in the first paragraph and then we're supposed to think what? As usual seems like the marketing departments are doing a great job. Must be the same guys that convinced stay at home moms that they needed the big SUV's (a higher profit vehicle for the automakers) to look "cool" versus the soccer mom minivan (lower profit vehicle).
Posted by JohnnyL (89 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great Marketing Job being done.....
"Gadgets make you look cool"

After reading that in the first paragraph and then we're supposed to think what? As usual seems like the marketing departments are doing a great job. Must be the same guys that convinced stay at home moms that they needed the big SUV's (a higher profit vehicle for the automakers) to look "cool" versus the soccer mom minivan (lower profit vehicle).
Posted by JohnnyL (89 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh...
*yawn*
Posted by morkster (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh...
*yawn*
Posted by morkster (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
for added flare???
Unless you want your hair catching on fire, I hope you meant "for added flair".
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yep
Indeed, we were referring to style and not to flammability! Thanks for the good editing eye.
Posted by LeslieKatz (143 comments )
Link Flag
for added flare???
Unless you want your hair catching on fire, I hope you meant "for added flair".
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yep
Indeed, we were referring to style and not to flammability! Thanks for the good editing eye.
Posted by LeslieKatz (143 comments )
Link Flag
Fluff Piece
Wow, what an article, talk about how women want gadgets to look fashionable and trendy for 95% of the article, then insert the occasional: but women want gadgets to be more than fashionable, they have to be multi-functional This article was nothing but a fluff piece. My only guess is that this is a marketing attempt to get women to feel good about buying gadgets in hopes that they would then look on CNet for gadgets to buy.

And in the mean time, the rate of women going into Computer Science programs at Colleges and Universities across America continues to plummet. So women are excluding themselves from the science field and industries, but that doesn't mean as much as women buying gadgets huh?? Women will buy anything, the only thing this article does is to verify that women spend more money than men. GOOD JOB!!!
Posted by ackbar212 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fluff? I disagree
Chill out my man! Just b/c the article mentions style and fashion
doesn't mean it's fluff. The point is that women are buying more
gadgets and their spending is increasing faster than men's is. An
interesting trend. And hey, there are certain stylin' gadgets I'd
buy that my boyfriend wouldn't. Nothing wrong with that.
Posted by MiaStrong (18 comments )
Link Flag
Fluff Piece
Wow, what an article, talk about how women want gadgets to look fashionable and trendy for 95% of the article, then insert the occasional: but women want gadgets to be more than fashionable, they have to be multi-functional This article was nothing but a fluff piece. My only guess is that this is a marketing attempt to get women to feel good about buying gadgets in hopes that they would then look on CNet for gadgets to buy.

And in the mean time, the rate of women going into Computer Science programs at Colleges and Universities across America continues to plummet. So women are excluding themselves from the science field and industries, but that doesn't mean as much as women buying gadgets huh?? Women will buy anything, the only thing this article does is to verify that women spend more money than men. GOOD JOB!!!
Posted by ackbar212 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fluff? I disagree
Chill out my man! Just b/c the article mentions style and fashion
doesn't mean it's fluff. The point is that women are buying more
gadgets and their spending is increasing faster than men's is. An
interesting trend. And hey, there are certain stylin' gadgets I'd
buy that my boyfriend wouldn't. Nothing wrong with that.
Posted by MiaStrong (18 comments )
Link Flag
Like it or not, women are a key CE demographic
Perhaps this article got too long and wandered a little too close to the fashion accessory aisle, but there are valid points here. (Most) women do not like being pandered to by CE device manufacturers and marketers, being sold dolled up versions of cell phones and routers, we want technology that works and that solves some kind of need for us, just like any gadget-carrying guy. Women represent a great demographic, partially untapped (for gaming devices especially) and very influential (like it or not, wives make the final go/no go decisions on most major electronics purchases, techie husband's thoughts aside).

To another person's point, gadgeteer and technologist are two different things, and since I lean towards the later, I do hope future stories highlight women who talk about or work in technology more directly.
Posted by Semiconductor Girl (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
And as a female, I could care less about the demographics. I found the story to be pointless. I am a network admin and consider myself to be a true techie. I think the article was well intentioned, but like yourself, i would've enjoyed a piece on women in technology, not a piece on women who have blogs and sites about gadgets. The whole story just seemed a bit about CNET promoting these sites, thus, blowing up the careers of women who have not made any real strides in the technology field. You can either talk or write about gadgets or you can be the inventer or purchase who makes the ultimate decision as to whether a product goes to market. And as a female, I want to be the latter and would love to see more stories like that from CNET.
Posted by gman63 (11 comments )
Link Flag
Like it or not, women are a key CE demographic
Perhaps this article got too long and wandered a little too close to the fashion accessory aisle, but there are valid points here. (Most) women do not like being pandered to by CE device manufacturers and marketers, being sold dolled up versions of cell phones and routers, we want technology that works and that solves some kind of need for us, just like any gadget-carrying guy. Women represent a great demographic, partially untapped (for gaming devices especially) and very influential (like it or not, wives make the final go/no go decisions on most major electronics purchases, techie husband's thoughts aside).

To another person's point, gadgeteer and technologist are two different things, and since I lean towards the later, I do hope future stories highlight women who talk about or work in technology more directly.
Posted by Semiconductor Girl (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
And as a female, I could care less about the demographics. I found the story to be pointless. I am a network admin and consider myself to be a true techie. I think the article was well intentioned, but like yourself, i would've enjoyed a piece on women in technology, not a piece on women who have blogs and sites about gadgets. The whole story just seemed a bit about CNET promoting these sites, thus, blowing up the careers of women who have not made any real strides in the technology field. You can either talk or write about gadgets or you can be the inventer or purchase who makes the ultimate decision as to whether a product goes to market. And as a female, I want to be the latter and would love to see more stories like that from CNET.
Posted by gman63 (11 comments )
Link Flag
vogue computing
Not specifically for women but more for fashion conscious or people with specif tech styles.

www.voguecomputing.com
Posted by timintaiwan (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vogue computing
Not specifically 4 women, but I doubt many men will go for
these.
Posted by MiaStrong (18 comments )
Link Flag
vogue computing
Not specifically for women but more for fashion conscious or people with specif tech styles.

www.voguecomputing.com
Posted by timintaiwan (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vogue computing
Not specifically 4 women, but I doubt many men will go for
these.
Posted by MiaStrong (18 comments )
Link Flag
Another Fluffy and Useless Story..........
What's the big deal with women and gadgets? Women have been at the fore front for awhile regarding technology. I blame the media on such fluffy and self promoting Madison Avenue marketing! We live in a new era, where women are doing great things in technology, so, I am perplexed as to why several years later, why all the hoopla over women who purchase technology. Instead of listing how many tech gadgets women own and use and promoting other females who have tech or gadget sites, how about talking about how "every day" women are using technology in their lives. And while you're at it, try running a few meaningful stories about the women who invent technology. Enough with the promoting of sites whose owners are clearly in it for fame and for an honorable mention (thus, propelling their careers). They should at least be self depracating and humble (which does not appear to be the case to me).
Posted by gman63 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Another Fluffy and Useless Story..........
What's the big deal with women and gadgets? Women have been at the fore front for awhile regarding technology. I blame the media on such fluffy and self promoting Madison Avenue marketing! We live in a new era, where women are doing great things in technology, so, I am perplexed as to why several years later, why all the hoopla over women who purchase technology. Instead of listing how many tech gadgets women own and use and promoting other females who have tech or gadget sites, how about talking about how "every day" women are using technology in their lives. And while you're at it, try running a few meaningful stories about the women who invent technology. Enough with the promoting of sites whose owners are clearly in it for fame and for an honorable mention (thus, propelling their careers). They should at least be self depracating and humble (which does not appear to be the case to me).
Posted by gman63 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Man smart, woman smarter
Testosterone is the root of all stupidity.
It's also why Windows is dominant. There's your proof.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Man smart, woman smarter
Testosterone is the root of all stupidity.
It's also why Windows is dominant. There's your proof.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
gadgets for girls
THIS ONE IS FOR THE LADIES EVERYWHERE. DOESN'T MATTER WHO THE DESIGN COMES FROM - JUST ADD SOLAR CELLS TO THE LADIES TOTE BAG SO SHE CAN CHARGE ANY GADGET SHE PREFERS ALL DAY. WITH LOVE - FROM REX.
Posted by travelerx1a (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
gadgets for girls
THIS ONE IS FOR THE LADIES EVERYWHERE. DOESN'T MATTER WHO THE DESIGN COMES FROM - JUST ADD SOLAR CELLS TO THE LADIES TOTE BAG SO SHE CAN CHARGE ANY GADGET SHE PREFERS ALL DAY. WITH LOVE - FROM REX.
Posted by travelerx1a (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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