HTC Bliss: An Android Phone Designed for Women, by Clueless Men

Is HTC working on an Android-based device designed just for women? That’s the scoop the ex-Engadget team has over on their temporary new home, This is My Next. According to their source, the upcoming HTC Bliss, a cross between the HTC Desire S and Desire Z, is being built with the needs of the female demographic in mind, from its “calming” sea green tones to its dangling charms. It even has diet and shopping apps.

Oh no.

What a Girl Wants?

The HTC Bliss will also have a greenish-gray rubber back so “women can have a better grip of the phone,” writes Joanna Stern, explaining one of the phone’s differentiating features. I’m not sure how that’s a feature with female appeal, but there you have it.

The phone will be thin (.54 inches), and will sport “calming” wallpapers in addition to the “calming” green tones of the phone itself. The overuse of “calming” by HTC to describe the device, frankly, is bordering on offensive.



The phone will also include a charm, which, like many of the cell phone charms sold today, attaches to the phone to provide a little bling. But this charm has a function too, beyond the hook which lets a woman attach it to something inside her purse – it lights up when you have a new message or missed call.

As a woman with a large purse doubling as a diaper bag, I have to admit I don’t entirely hate this idea, although I do find the idea of cell phone charms a bit juvenile. Perhaps it’s our purses that need these dangling cords built-in instead, complete with phone syncing capabilities and glowing baubles? Then again, I’d be happy to just have a phone whose flashing “missed call” light could be better customized to blink in configurations I specify. Light blue for Twitter updates, dark blue for Facebook, green for SMS texts, etc. But that’s just me.

The worst part about this Android phone for girls is the mockup Stern describes which showed shopping comparison and calorie counting applications on the homescreen. I can only hope that these aren’t being pre-loaded on the device. Not that I have anything against these type of applications, of course. But I do have something against the idea that a female, by way of her very gender, is going to want these on her phone.

Or any of the above “female-friendly” features, really.

To be fair, I have said before that I’m exactly the kind of person who would buy a white iPhone, not just because it’s an iPhone, but because it’s pretty, gosh darn it. Still, I know many females who prefer the sleek, black gadgets more than the white or the pink. I just don’t think you can (or should) generalize these sorts of gender stereotypes anymore. Liking the white iPhone is a personal preference, not something inherent to my gender.

Why, HTC, Why?

So why is HTC even considering such a device?

Well, over a year ago, we looked at data which found that the Android market tends to skew male. At the time, there was a 78/22% male-to-female ratio in the gender variance among Android owners. This was evidenced by Verizon’s “Droid Does” marketing campaigns which features stereotypical “boy” attractions like robots and comments about “racehorses duct-taped to Scud missiles.” The current campaigns still have a male-targeted vibe to them, in fact.

A colorful phone with dangling charms would be the antithesis to the Droid, and HTC’s own attempt at a big demographic grab. But is it necessary?

Absolutely not.

Smartphone makers like HTC are clearly exploring how to best differentiate their Android handsets from the competition, which makes sense in this crowded market. And if HTC wants to experiment with different colors or accessories, I’m all for that. But don’t launch a colorful phone and tell me it’s “for girls.”

Did Apple tell us the white iPhone was for women? No, of course not. Because the color of a phone doesn’t dictate who buys it.

We’re not sure how HTC’s Bliss is a “phone for women.” Last we checked, women want the same things men do here – powerful phones, great hardware and software that delivers a user experience that’s easy and fun to use. HTC actually delivers on much of that without having to make “pretty” phones girls can use to load up their favorite diet apps.

Back to the drawing boards, HTC.

Image credits: This is My Next (mockups they made, FYI)

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