Women really do get the short end of the gadget stick. While surveys have indicated that women have generally as much interest in electronics as most men, most gadgets aimed at Team XX are condescendingly absent any thoughtful additions besides the most superficial touches. (The “shrink it and pink it” approach, quips designer Erica Eden, as quoted and profiled in this Fast Company piece.)
I doubt there’s fundamentally any difference between designing a gadget for men or for women; simple, powerful, understated design inside and out is appealing to everyone. Garish “fashion” gadgets — like the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition netbook the women from Smart Design’s “Femme Den” note looks “cheap and plastic-y in person” — may appeal to some women, but no more than ultra-rugged, overwrought, military-inspired gear appeals to a small subset of men.