By Linsey Knerl
The genders may be equal, but their smartphone usage may not be. While there have been no readily available studies on how men and women may use their phones differently, we suspected that there had to be trends to separate the two. In an effort to get an idea of just how wide the gap may be, we asked some of the most hardcore iPhone and Blackberry junkies what they thought. The results may surprise you!
Husband and wife team Bill Horvath II and his wife Jen shared the differences they see in their use of the iPhone. “To be perfectly direct, I haven’t noticed substantial differences in how we use the phone, though Jen’s more apt to use it for reading books than I am,” admits Bill. Jen, on the other hand, suspects that Bill spends more time gaming on his phone. While she grew up without many games in the home, the allure is unmistakeable. “Losing sleep to play one more level of Peggle is absurd. And I am guilty.”
But what about users who are not married. Would there be more drastic differences in their phone habits?
Casual Gaming Between the Sexes
Both men and women agreed that playing games on their phones was taking up more and more of their time. Whether they were playing stand-alone games housed completely in their phones, or chose to use a mobile application that connected them to online team ventures when on the go, each gender admitted to finding gaming “addictive” when they were able to access it anytime and anywhere via the smartphone.
Silly games, like Fling! for the iPhone, are popular among both genders. Word games seemed to appeal more to women (although a fair share of the men we talked to liked them, as well), and the games and apps that bordered on nasty or juvenile (iFart, for instance) held a steady younger male user audience. Men were also notoriously more open to playing games with a long-term goal in mind: Role Playing Games (RPG) and “building” modules seem to be played by a slightly higher number of males in our interviews.
For Women, by Women
Not surprisingly, the gender of an app developer could play into who downloaded it and how high they rated it. Most recently, an app hit the market that was designed to help women count contractions during labor. Many of the female users complained that it only counted contractions from the end of one to the beginning of another (not from the beginning of one to the beginning of another.) While no one could tell the gender of the developer just by the info given on the download page, many of the disgruntled users assumed that it was an uneducated male – and then swore off any other apps by the same developer.
There is also a growing market of smartphone tools designed to reach into the more sensitive areas of a woman’s life. Things that women would speak about only to one another, or to no one at all, can be tracked, learned about, or perfected via a smartphone app. Thanks to sites like LadyAppApp, gals can get the latest news on tools designed just for them, like TouchCloset, iCoolHunt, iPeriod and, of course, all those really cool pregnancy apps. Even sites like TechCrunch and Mashable have interrupted their regularly scheduled programming to cover apps for women, exclusively. (Because you know you want to know how big your booty is, right ladies?)
When Apps Imitate Life
Most women we talked to seemed to have apps that reflect exactly what they would look for in a magazine feature, newspaper, or television feature. Horoscopes, celebrity gossip, and music news applications were common in the same age groups that would look them up in a recent edition of Cosmo or Glamour. They also shared that they have replaced many of these traditional forms of entertainment with phone applications. And why not? They are easy-to-access, and many of them are very affordable (or even free!)