When Samsung launched its N230 netbook a couple of days ago, you may have assumed it was just the latest attempt to one-up the competition in a product category that's no longer the hottest. After all, its larger battery option promised a whopping 13.5 hours of juice per charge.
What you didn't know was that Samsung believes that N230 will appeal particularly to women, especially younger ones. According to a post on the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog:
“Our main target audience will be young ladies in their twenties or even early thirties,” says Yeon-hee Park, a Samsung spokeswoman. “Given its super-light and tiny features, ladies may find it handy to carry this around in their bags.”
Of course, there are plenty of netbooks with "super-light and tiny features" -- Asus seems to release a few each week -- so why is the N230 any different? It does have a "premium black finish," but there have been pink netbooks released (including by Samsung itself) that would seem to appeal to women more blatantly.
It does beg the question: Can a netbook be successfully targeted to women? If so, what would make it more attractive to them than to men? In general, attempts to market computers to women over the years have been heavy handed (a pink desktop = She PC), and may have missed a big point: Maybe most women don't care to have computers pitched to them as a fashion accessory. Maybe they just want them to work and look decently attractive -- like men view them.
In any event, there's something with "super-light and tiny features" that's even lighter than a netbook, and will probably be carried around a lot more by young women than the N230. It's called an iPad.