HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

Summary: The HTC Rhyme is an Android phone that comes with special accessories designed for women. Based on the reaction the phone receives from them, the phone doesn't appeal to the target market.

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TOPICS: Telcos, HTC, Mobility
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When I first heard about the HTC Rhyme, I admit I did a double-take at what I was hearing. The giant phone maker was releasing an Android phone with a twist: it was aimed at women buyers. After verifying I heard things correctly, I read a couple of early reviews of the Rhyme and sure enough it is aimed squarely at women.

I received the HTC Rhyme a few days ago and it is the first phone I have evaluated that leaves me shaking my head. It is an attractive handset much like other HTC phones, and it has little to set it apart from the HTC Android line. The difference is in the accessories included with the phone that are clearly aimed at women buyers. Rather than review the Rhyme myself, I feel it is more appropriate to share the feedback I have received from those in the target market.

The Rhyme ships in an unusual metallic purple, that is attractive. The specifications are nothing special, a 3.7-inch display, 1 GHz single-core processor, and a microSD slot to allow augmenting the 4GB of memory on the phone. The more I look at the Rhyme the more it reminds me of the HTC Hero from a while back.

What sets the Rhyme apart from the Android crowd, and determines the target market for the phone, are the accessories in the box. In addition to the phone there is a standard tiny power brick and cable for charging, a matching purple wired stereo headset, a wired "charm", and a charging dock.

The dock is designed to sit on a desk or table and interact with the phone in landscape orientation while it is being charged. The phone must be set in the dock just right or it doesn't charge, but it's not hard to get it lined up.

The wired headset is a good quality pair of audio earplugs with a microphone integrated for use as a hands-free headset. It matches the purple color of the Rhyme, an obvious effort to make it an accessory for the phone.

The charm, as HTC is calling it, is something never seen in the smartphone world prior to the Rhyme. It is a wire with a purple cube on the end, designed to signal the owner when a call has been missed. The charm plugs into the 3.5mm audio jack on the phone, which activates the purple LED notifications. The idea is the phone can be thrown into a bag, and the charm can be left dangling out so notifications won't be missed. The purple cube flashes when a call comes in or is missed, until the notification is cleared on the phone.

This charm alone tags the Rhyme as a phone for women, but along with the matching audio headset there is little doubt. It is obvious that HTC wants the Rhyme to appeal to women, but given the reactions to the phone I have seen I think HTC needed to think this through further prior to release.

The first person I handed the Rhyme was my wife, who sees a lot of phones through my work. I would class her as a typical consumer, not too concerned about the technical aspects of a handset, rather if it does what she needs.

She liked the color of the Rhyme, and thought the phone fit nicely in the hand. Things went down from there when I demonstrated the charm, and the realization hit that this phone was "for women".

"What, are women not SMART enough for a regular phone? Does the company think we need special phones because we can't figure out how to work "regular" ones?"

"And what's with the WIRED headset? Who uses those anymore? Are we women not SMART enough to use a Bluetooth headset? Or does this phone not connect over Bluetooth to my car for hands-free use?"

"That charm is the stupidest thing I have ever seen for a phone. That's another thing to get all tangled up in my purse, eventually to break. And I still have to take the phone out to answer or make a call, so what's the point?"

She handed me the Rhyme back at that point, and had no desire to try it again. I got a similar reaction from every woman I showed the phone. Anger that women needed "special" phones, and disbelief at how poorly thought out the accessories were designed.

HTC is trying to create products that stand out from the crowded Android phones out everywhere, but it missed the mark with the Rhyme on every level.

Topics: Telcos, HTC, Mobility

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65 comments
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  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    I don't think it is such a bad idea and some of the criticisms are a little hypersensitive, if you don't like the accessories, don't use them. I think the charm is actually a great idea
    kingcobra23
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @kingcobra23

      Yeah I wonder how old the "women" he was consulting with were.

      This phone is obviusly for the younger and hipper crowd.

      though younger hip crowds tend to have their own individual tastes. Most smartphones have more than enough accesories to satisfy both men and women.

      This phone will find it's crowd but perhaps it may not be as large as HTC would like it.
      Bakabaka
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    Wow, your wife is a little too sensitive, in that she acts like some type of victim just because the phone was targeted at women.

    ???What, are women not SMART enough for a regular phone? Does the company think we need special phones because we can???t figure out how to work ???regular??? ones????

    What makes this phone not regular just because it's targeted at women? There's no handicap features or anything that makes things easier or different from other phones. The phone is just like any other phone except that it's design (color, shape, etc) were made with women in mind.

    ???And what???s with the WIRED headset? Who uses those anymore? Are we women not SMART enough to use a Bluetooth headset? Or does this phone not connect over Bluetooth to my car for hands-free use????

    Plenty of people, including myself and I'm much younger then your wife (21) so I'm pretty sure I would know what's in and out, and wires headsets are still in, and popular especially among audiophiles. If she wants a bluetooth headset, what's stopping her from getting one and setting it up? Obviously they aren't going to ship one with the phone and no one called her too stupid to set one up, so why would she even assume that just because it cames with wired headsets?

    ???That charm is the stupidest thing I have ever seen for a phone. That???s another thing to get all tangled up in my purse, eventually to break. And I still have to take the phone out to answer or make a call, so what???s the point????

    I think that charm is actually a good idea, and will be popular with a lot of "young" women, no offense to your wife but young women love things such as that.
    gemini_dad
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @gemini_dad
      I think what's dumb is the fact that it's color alone sort of aims its market towards women, only, and that is pretty rude when you think about it. That being said, it sort of excludes the not-so-tech-savvy portion of the GUYS too.
      donewithitagain
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @gemini_dad ya and why would she feel a victim? because they wanted to make a phone that is girly? well lots of phones are, if you go to bestbuy or whatever you will see many pink/purple/etc phones!
      KittyKat<3er4
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    The Charm would be very handy for a gal in a noisy club and such.
    CowLauncher
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @CowLauncher

      Possibly. Although any club that's so noisy you can't hear your smartphone ringing at its default/loudest ringtone setting is probably too noisy to actually answer the phone.

      As for keeping track of texts, I know my wife regularly checks her cellphone when she's expecting a text, or when she thinks she's felt it vibrate. Having a "charm" that plugs into the phone wouldn't provide a lot of extra notice for her.
      spdragoo@...
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    Now if the "Charm" was Bluetooth, clipped to your jacket and let you use whatever headset you wanted (audio out through a standard plug, the device having a mic) and showed information like number calling, or number of messages... and wasn't called a "Charm", then they might have something. Of course, then you'd not need to make the phone a poncey colour or call it a "women's phone" because the accessory might actually be useful.
    Jeremy-UK
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @Jeremy-UK
      A good idea, but this meets a demand, also. I'd definitely use the current "Charm".
      Lady Miss
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    Article should've been titled, "Phone accessories that offend my wife".
    kevindarling
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @kevindarling
      +1
      Ram U
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @kevindarling
      +2

      after reading this I was like, no way all women in the world are as shallow as your wife..like the others have said, WAY too sensitive..
      9ene123
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      I agree 100%
      techloverjas
    • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

      @kevindarling

      +4. I want these accessories.
      Lady Miss
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    Now that you have shared more details on the accessories, the charm really was the stumbling block for attracting its target customers - women. Everything else was acceptable I thought, the colour and the matching headpiece BUT not the charm.
    ken80ny
  • Let's face it. Android ads have been aiming at men since day one.

    Android ads with the robots, droids, heavy metal, etc., have been targeted at men. I don't think HTC would come out with a phone aimed at women unless market research had shown that women buyers weren't responding to those ads. HTC's implementation of a "womens phone" may be a little goofy, but their motivation is clearly to aim for a market segment that the "droid" ads have been missing.
    Userama
    • Not so sure about that.

      @Userama

      The last Droid commercials I've seen have had only women in them -- 1 showed a woman using the "sync wirelessly to your PC" option (as she was preparing to use an exercise bike), & the 2nd was a futuristic man vs. machine fighting match pitting a female fighter against the giant robot fighter.
      spdragoo@...
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    I actually think the Charm is a good idea. I typically turn my ringer off for work and tend to forget to turn it back on. It can sometimes be hours or days before I realize I had a missed call, even if the sucker is in my pocket for that period of time.
    Aerowind
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    I think the Rhyme is pretty nice.The only reason I'm not getting it for myself is because it doesn't have a dual-core processor. What is also nice is that they made something thinking of us, when cell phones are getting bigger and bigger (the new droids have such big screens that I feel like I'm carrying a tablet in my purse sometimes. I don't mind the charm at all, and agree w/ CowLauncher: when in a noisy place, it'll come in pretty handy!! No more missed calls!! (Unless it's the type I want to miss ;-))
    AnnaKarenina77
  • RE: HTC Rhyme: Android phone that offends target market

    Bullocks! Who eats this shit? ahihihi
    lolobabes