The Major Problem With This Smartphone Made “For Women”

Many tech companies equate creating products that appeal to women with all things pink, sparkly, and overly stylized. The result is often clunky wearables that prioritize fashion over function and have fewer capabilities than a unisex tracker. While some products, such as Fitbit Alta and Apple Watch, have successfully bridged that gap, one smartphone called our attention to what is still a major issue that must be addressed. The Keecoo K1, created by Chinese tech company Shenzhen Yi Shengyuan Technology Limited, is described on its site as "the smartphone for women." Photographed against backdrops of rose petals and makeup brushes (because all women want their tech associated with flowers and makeup), the Keecoo K1 is a phone that will "satisfy all sorts of needs of selfie enthusiasts." How will it do that, you ask? Well, it has a camera lens that "automatically makes your skin look delicate and smooth." Plus, "considering the small hands of women," the Keecoo K1 is designed to fit perfectly in your palm so that you don't have to worry about your tiny hands dropping a phone that's too big. Heaven forbid you should have to take a selfie with a giant iPhone in your hand! Let's put that demeaning marketing campaign aside for just a moment. Does the phone at least deliver on quality? Nope. As Engadget notes, it uses an older Android operating system, rather than the most recent operating system, Marshmallow. Perhaps because women are too simple and confused to understand the most up-to-date technology? Ultimately, the major issue with Keecoo K1 is that it presumes to know what women want. These presumptions are based on outdated stereotypes and buzzwords — pink, pretty, "delicate," "smooth" — rather than the qualities that everyone wants in any piece of technology: something that is, yes, attractive to look at, but that, more importantly, doesn't weigh a ton, has a long-lasting battery, is fast, and has a high-quality camera. In the same way that not all men want a wearable so big it looks like a tank, not all women want something "ultra-feminine." If you look at many of the biggest successes in tech history, including the iPhone, MacBook Pro, and Amazon Echo, they all share two features: a clean, unembellished appearance, and high-performing technology. They are gender neutral. Hopefully, as more women fill STEM jobs and become the creators in addition to the consumers, the prevailing stereotypes around tech made "for women" will improve. After all, the best way to find out what women — who are predicted to control two-thirds of consumer wealth over the next decade — really want is to ask them directly.

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