|EPad Femme: A Tablet for Women|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Mar 18, 2013, 6:03 PM|
Tablets now come in all different sizes, with different software, with different price tags and in different colors. But that's not enough for Eurostar, a company based in the United Arab Emirates. Yes, the company has now created a tablet specifically for women – the ePad Femme.
The ePad Femme looks like a regular cheap tablet from afar. It has an 8-inch touchscreen, 1GB of RAM and Android 4.0. But its software has been customized for women.
"We are easing out the hurdles of browsing or downloading applications with Android," Mani Nair, head of marketing for Eurostar, told ABC News. "Preloaded are cooking recipes, a yoga app, Office on the go. They are very user-friendly." (No, and despite the name, it doesn't come with a preloaded tampon subscription service.)
The images of the tablet reveals a pink-and-white homescreen with those aforementioned preloaded apps. The tablet, which costs $170, is currently being sold in the Middle East and parts of Asia. It isn't being sold in the U.S., but Nair said Eurostar wants to "explore all markets."
But many women hope the product will stay far away. "Slapping pink on something and throwing on some stereotypical apps isn't familiarity with how women use tablets," Rachel Sklar, founder of Change the Ratio and the Li.st, groups for women in technology, told ABC News. "It isn't the way to woo a woman to use your product."
Others weren't as kind about the ePad Femme. "It sounds like a product out of an Onion article," one 29-year-old woman told us. "If I wanted those apps I would download them on my own. Someone should also tell the company I can vote on my own now too," another woman told ABC News. Writers at Slate and The Guardian shared similar thoughts.
Sklar, however, said she isn't opposed to a tablet marketed at women if done the right way. "I'm not that opposed to a savvy manufacturer customizing a product to the needs of the population, and that includes women," she said. "If there is data to suggest that a smaller, lightweight tablet might be adopted by women, I say go for it."
Maria Seidman, founder of Yapp, echoed Sklar's thoughts. "To think that anyone can 'guess' what types of content I'd like just because I have two X chromosomes is just a bad business strategy," Seidman said. "Products and content specifically targeting women only work when they are solving a unique problem surfaced by really listening."
The ePad Femme is more blatant than some other consumer technology products marketed at women. HTC created the HTC Rhyme, a phone aimed at women, in 2011. It didn't come in pink, but rather a purple hue and had a notification dongle, which plugged into the phone and attached to the outside of a purse or bag. Of course, there have also been tons of pink versions of laptops or headphones that have been marketed to women. In the nontech sphere, many will never forget the Bic Pen "For Her," which drew massive amounts of criticism on the web.
"Anytime something is pinkified, woman, who are outspoken, react with derision," Sklar said. "I don't know why any company wouldn't, at the bare minimum, do research."
However, Eurostar says the ePad Femme was created by a team of men and women and took into account features women want.
"There are women-centric products and business, we just are trying to make a relevant product," Nair said. "The ePad Femme is a product they can seem proud of and let them be distinct. We want to give women a supreme product."
What about men? No, Eurostar isn't making a tablet for the other sex, though when asked, Nair said, "That's not a bad idea. Why not?"