Our own Debbie Davies has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, London commenting about girls and their gadgets. The article is available online, however you'll have to register to read it. To save you the trouble we've posted the article below:
As appeared in The Daily Telegraph 03/12/04:It doesn't have to be pink to make it work for meGirls like gadgets, too. So why are those most likely to appeal to them so hard to get hold of, Debbie Davies, editor of Gizmogirl.co.uk, asks
Shiny gadget guides with touched-up cover shots of gizmos that you can't actually buy have been falling out of many newspapers as the Christmas shopping season warms up. In between the pages of "boys' toys", the idea that girls might be interested in gadgets, too, has emerged. But just as girls have a problem understanding what men like in a razor, boys seem to be having problems understanding what girls might like about gadgets.
Boysstuff.co.uk, an online shop for boys' toys, is typical. This year, it launched a shop for women, girlsstuff.co.uk, and filled it with anything pink, and anything to do with sex. As someone who is interested in gadgets, I struggled to find anything that I wanted to buy.
Research suggests that girls almost match boys when it comes to spending on gadgets. But a language of two words - pink and sex - is not going to do it.
Apple, the computer company, which has just opened its first European outlet on Regent Street, hopes its London store will be the first that does not make women want to walk straight out. The company is relying on knowledgeable staff whom customers can talk to, rather than leaving shoppers to wade through bewildering lists of product specification sheets.
Apple's straightforward products are popular with women and they will like shopping in the new store, providing Apple delivers on its promise. However, when I tried telephoning, I gave up after being given too many automated options and waiting too long on hold.
Gadgets that fall short of their promise turn women off, in the same way that pink-coloured gadgets are patronising. In my experience, men are much more forgiving than women about them. Men's risk-taking, entrepreneurial streak, and their better understanding of numbers, mean they have invented almost every bit of technology that all of us use, every day. That same experimental quality makes them put up with cutting-edge technology even when it is a few years off being ready for use.
Men have been buying "bluetooth enabled" mobile phones for years, without actually making much use of what has been an emerging technology. The idea of bluetooth - wireless communication across short distances - is enough to make men want it, according to staff at my local branch of Carphone Warehouse.
For men buying gadgets for girls, my advice is that, as long as it is not pink, if you can explain how it will improve my life and it works, you have a gadget for women.
That's as long as it is available. I have tried and failed to buy all of the following this Christmas: a Sky+ designer box, a purple Creative Zen Micro mp3 player and any coloured Apple iPod mini.
Let's hope things will get better in 2005 for girls who like gadgets.