Weird Phones: HTC Rhyme

Anna Kim | February 19th 2019

HTC

Meet the HTC Rhyme: the mobile phone for women!

In Weird Phones, we take a look at some of the more esoteric oddball devices that have come out over the years. Unnecessarily gendered products remain a hilarious staple of consumer life, and of course mobile phones are no exception to this patronizing bit of capitalism. Meet the HTC Rhyme: the mobile phone for women!

I have always enjoyed the flurry of mockery and righteous anger that arises online every time another unnecessarily gendered products hits the marketplace -- shades of the Dr. Pepper 10 (Diet Dr. Pepper but for masculine men) still haunt and delight me to this day. So when researching phone options for this series I was delighted to find that, of course, there was a mobile phone that was widely mocked for its gendered marketing. Ladies, are you tired of cellphones designed exclusively for men? Look no further than the HTC Rhyme!

Developed by Android-manufacturing giants HTC in 2011 as an exclusive for Verizon subscribers in the US (at least initially), the HTC Rhyme is a fairly standard second generation Android smartphone, equipped with a Snapdragon MSM8655 microprocessor and 765MB of internal RAM memory.

The machine was announced by HTC to the tech press in early 2011 under the codename "Bliss", a machine designed with the female segment of the population in mind. From the "Bliss" came the name change to the Rhyme, and less focus on the gender aspect and more on being a "lifestyle" device. Earlier planned features like an inbound calorie counter and shopping assistant were scrapped.

But the phone itself did rankle some with features viewed as gendered. The most egregious of these was an attached "charm" which would glow when it received notifications. The ongoing conflation of female-gendered products being closer to toys than male-gendered or gender-neutral ones is an issue, but I will say that I wouldn't mind having a cool glowing charm for notifications on my phone.

The phone did eventually weather the storm of gendered-controversy and ended up being a mostly successful Android phone in its own right. HTC moved away from "lifestyle" and speciality phones in the next generation, however, and the Rhyme-line died with its launch model.


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