HTC’s roll call of devices gets ever more impressive. Its two new Windows Phone handsets the Radar and Titan, look stunning. And then some.
Meanwhile, comprehensive leaks tell us what we can expect from new Android blowers, the Runnymede and Bliss. And while both have stellar spec sheets, it’s the latter which is causing quite a stir.
The rumour mill has it that the Bliss will be HTC’s first female-focused smartphone, with the feature set confirming it’ll come with a ‘charm indicator’. This accessory is designed to hang out of a handbag or be clipped to a keyring, giving off a signal every time a call or message comes in.
In theory, this isn’t a bad idea, albeit one similar to the one tried by Sony Ericsson with its LiveView accessory.
It means users don’t have to delve into their bag to find out whether they’ve definitely got an incoming call. But is it really necessary to make this a female-focused add-on? For a while during the noughties, gadget companies were obsessed with churning out pink and purple hued phones in a desperate bid to win around women.
This was crass and misplaced at best. Phones are not the preserve of men and while design might play a part, fancy colours and features such as HTC’s planned ‘charm indicator’ only help to reinforce tiresome prejudices that only certain types of technology are for women.
It suggests that women don’t ever make calls, send emails or do business on a smartphone, and would only buy one if it was properly accessorised. Obviously, that’s simply not true. Of course, there is a chance that HTC might manage to market the phone well. But it’ll have to do its best to ensure that it doesn’t use a patronising tone.
There’s a reason that pink kit has died a death in recent years. Tech, and especially smartphones, have become rampantly popular and gone is the notion that only a certain type of geek uses them.
There’s an overwhelming feeling that gadgets like this only serve to talk down to their audience, rather than playing up the features that could actually help in their busy day-to-day lives.
It’s not as if the Bliss’s spec sheet is lacking, with breezy web access, great aggregated social network support via HTC Sense and the best Android has to offer with Gingerbread on board.
If HTC really wants to market its devices to women, then why not use the productivity angle rather than one which feels demeaning at best and downright sexist at worst?
By all means release the ‘charm indicator’, but why not sell it as something that makes life easier for everyone, rather than trying to make a needless point about women and technology.