Why Are Android Users Mostly Male?

I work on and use an Android phone (T-Mobile MyTouch), so I was particularly curious about this survey result:

While most smartphone operating systems show 54-58% usage male, with Android, it’s almost 3/4, or 73%, male users. The big question is why.

Some have speculated that it’s due to a lack of “girlie phones” on the platform (although I think my maroon MyTouch is plenty attractive). That assumes that women need or want “girlie” phones. The only Android phone I’ve seen that strikes me as particularly gendered is the ugly black box Droid, which is also the most highly advertised model of that OS. I think it’s particularly boy geek-targeted.

Others have speculated that the marketing is aimed at males, or that most information on the OS has spread online among techie/hacker communities, which traditionally skew male. Women, are you familiar with Android? Would you consider it for your next smartphone? Why or why not?

12 Responses to “Why Are Android Users Mostly Male?”

  1. Leigh Walton Says:

    The Motorola Droid probably makes up a substantial proportion of the current Android userbase – and that’s a phone that screams “male nerd” in both its design and its ad campaign. Its gigantic marketing budget (and some really bad branding decisions) have ensured that many people may not even realize there are other phones running the OS.

  2. Ray Cornwall Says:

    Funny- I just bought two Samsung Moments for my wife and I last night!

    Honestly, I think that Android phones do skew a little male. They’re so hackable. I spent all night playing with it. To my wife…it’s a phone. She’s not interested.

  3. Kelson Says:

    Weird. That’s a major skew in those demographics.

    Thinking about it, the open-source Android does seem like it would appeal more to tinkerers than the close Apple and Palm platforms, and there’s been a lot of talk about how heavily the open source community skews male. I just wouldn’t have thought it was a big enough part of the smartphone audience to explain a 20% difference.

  4. William George Says:

    Given my observations over the years, it strikes me that boy geeks are really into the “Latest gizmo = Higher status” mentality. Where as women always seem to be a lot more practical about the technology they buy.

    Now, shoes and purses on the other hand…Womens is crazy for those! Heyamirite guys?!

    *drum fill*

  5. James Schee Says:

    Could it be the name of the phone itself? It seems sort of male centered to me. BTW I know android just means humanoid robot basically, but I honestly am having a hard time coming up with a female android fictional character….

  6. Jennifer C. Says:

    I have a Motorola Droid and I love it. I also have two children, birthed from my own personal lady parts. Me and demographics, we just don’t get along.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Ha ha! The survey is done by an ad-providing company, so it’s possible that there’s an additional bias in the numbers — maybe apps that are more likely to appeal to males are more likely to have ads, I don’t know. I know that Android has a much higher proportion of free apps than iPhone or other stores, but I don’t know how that affects ad usage or delivery. I’d also like to know how they determine gender based on serving ads.

    And Leigh, I agree with you about the Droid marketing. I have seen a number of T-Mobile MyTouch Fender ads, but those don’t mention Android.

  8. El Santo Says:

    @James: Hmm… Does Rei Ayanami ring a bell? All of the characters on Chobits? Whats-her-name from Ghost in a Shell? I guess unless you want to go with Robot Vicki from Small Wonder, Japan’s got that covered.

    But yeah, I think it’s the marketing. Plus that boxy Droid looks like something a soldier would carry on the field to take calls via satellite.

  9. Kelson Says:

    Or how about the robot that replaces Maria in the classic silent film, Metropolis (1927)?

  10. El Santo Says:

    Well, yeah … but that was, like, a hundred years ago. Might as well list Hadaly from Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s “The Future Eve,” too.

  11. Hsifeng Says:

    There’s also a feminine side to the Droid billboards:

    Michael Calore, Staff Writer, Wired Says at Muck Rack, Monday, November 23rd:

    “i still think the Droid ad calling it ‘a bare-knuckled bucket full of DOES’ is trying to sell me a bucket filled with female deer”

  12. Ann Says:

    I have had the G1 for a year and half; so, I guess I’m an early adopter; but, I also use a 5 year old laptop that is so slow I pretty much can’t take it anymore. I also do not have a t.v. I generally don’t care too much what the phone look likes; but, I don’t think anyone really wants to carry around an ugly phone.

    And on that note, I do admit, I kind of drooled a bit when I saw pictures of the Fender phone.




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