July 10, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

You go, girl gadgeteer

(continued from previous page)

Hughes, for her part, favors gadgets with multiple functions. "A phone that can do music, video, digital photos...that's ideal, because you don't have to carry all the gadgets in your purse. You only carry one."

Which leads to Card's gadget wish: better toting options. "There's still work we can do on...incorporating into purses and bags good ways to use and store our cell phones and our headphones and our headsets," she said.

Female gadget fans, of course, are hardly a monolithic group, and they have mixed reactions when it comes to the girliest of girl gadgets--devices like the pink Motorola Razr, pink Nintendo DS Lite and the veritable litter of Hello Kitty-branded cell phones, laptops and USB hubs.

"It's amazing how many girls like girly things: People love pink, they love Hello Kitty," said Terry Stone, a graduate student in broadcast design at New York University, who started the blog Chip Chick. (Indeed, in the first two days after it was released, the pink Razr outsold a month's worth of other popular wireless phones on the Cingular Web site, according to Untangled Life.)

Still, lest gadget makers think that all it takes to float women buyers is a cloud of cotton candy-inspired consumer electronics, they'd best think again.

"Women are looking for style and substance and class that doesn't look masculine, but they're not necessarily looking for the pink and the flowery," Stone said. "There's a big demand for something cute and fashionable and hip that isn't part of the female stereotype."

That applies to advertising as well.

Lewis points to advertising by Iqua, a consumer-electronics manufacturer out of Finland, as an example of female-oriented marketing that doesn't condescend. The company made its U.S. debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, showing off Bluetooth headsets sporting sleek designs and bright, funky patterns.

"Iqua is focusing right toward women, their Web site (shows) a woman in a car on a hands-free phone. All pictures are with women; all the designs are for women," she said.

Lewis seems less impressed with the way gadgets are marketed to teens and young women. She said ads featuring a girl wearing a trendy shade of lipstick with an iPod in her pocket show that consumer-electronics companies are trying to market MP3 players as another accessory, just like a cute purse or belt.

"They're trying to get it into the fashion world, but the fashion world and the tech world don't really have a conversation right now....If you're going to do that, you have to change it up," Lewis said. Gadget makers "are trying to appeal to females through fashion, but I haven't seen anything really revolutionary. (In one ad) the girl's wearing a cool outfit, and she has a cell phone in her pocket. OK, that's not going to sell me the cell phone."

More likely to do the trick, according to Card of Swapsets, is an approach that takes into careful account women's desire for style balanced with functionality.

"My best advice would be to not condescend to women, to really think about what it is women do on a daily basis," she said. "Women are tough consumers. We shop around, we know what we want, and we're not really likely to fall for something that hasn't been thought through."

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.

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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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