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March 20, 2013

Thank Goodness it's Not Pink: Eurostar Releases 'Tablet for Women'

Eurostar, a company from the United Arab Emirates, has created a special tablet just for women that it’s calling the “EPad Femme.”

Remember all the jokes about the connotations of “iPad” when it first launched? The iPad has become so ingrained in our culture that we’ve forgotten about the parade of feminine product one-liners associated with its original release. EPad Femme? I’ll leave the one-liners to you.

The EPad Femme’s “just for women” customization means a pink home screen and some built-in “woman-friendly” apps like cooking recipes, a yoga app, a weight loss app and an app called “Finest Perfume for Women.”

Many feminist outlets have issued blistering responses to the EPad Femme release. “Slapping pink on something and throwing on some stereotypical apps isn't familiarity with how women use tablets,” said Rachel Sklar, founder of two women in technology groups called Li.st and Change the Ratio.

Lindy West of Jezebel.com was far more sarcastic: “There's even an ‘invisible fence’ option that provides a helpful ‘reminder shock’ if you accidentally wander out of the kitchen and get lost!”

The product itself does beg the question: What exactly do women want in a tablet? The data doesn’t lie: Women do shop more on their mobile devices than men do (one in six women versus one in nine men).

In addition to shopping, we love a good app. Favorite app categories for females, according to OgilvyAction research, are health, lifestyle, entertainment and gaming. We also use social media apps almost twice as often as men.

Visa has also identified mobile payments as an underserved market for women. According to Visa, 95 percent of women in Kenya consider mobile payments to be secure and private, versus 50 percent who consider cash to be safe. Seventy-five percent of women worldwide contribute to household income, and one-third are in charge of paying family bills.

Maybe the biggest mistake Eurostar has made with the EPad Femme is to assume that most women, especially in the Middle East, aren’t good with technology. Saudi blogger Eman Al Nafjan notes that one byproduct of not allowing women to drive and venture out alone in Saudi Arabia is that they spend a lot of time at home—online.

“Whoever made this tablet doesn't understand us very well,” Al Nafjan wrote. “We are home all the time and we are extremely tech-savvy.”

EPad Femme retails for $190 and has only sold about 7,000 units so far. For $10 more, buy a Kindle Fire HD. Don’t worry: Google Play has plenty of perfume apps for Android. And if you can’t tap “Install,” surely there’s a man around who can help you.

Edited by Braden Becker

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