While girls' toys have always been lucrative for toy makers (think Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears and – more recently – Bratz), the market for technology-based toys has always been much more heavily aimed at boys. While, certainly, many girls enjoy them, video gaming systems and other such leisure technologies feature war games, flight simulators and fantasy role-playing games which pace and graphics are meant to appeal to the male demographic. Lara Croft does not wear tiny shorts for the benefit of her female fans.
This Christmas, a company called "Radica Games" is promoting a line of technology-based toys aimed exclusively at young girls that they call "Girl Tech". These gadgets for girls include such items as the "Password Journal", a sort of high-tech diary for modern girls. It uses voice recognition software to keep unauthorized people (like siblings and parents) from reading the owner's innermost thoughts and includes features like an invisible ink pen for even greater security, a calendar to keep the social life organized and an alarm to tell the owner if someone is trying to break in to the journal. However, it may be a better product in theory than in practice: many online reviews of this product do not recommend it due to technical glitches, most citing the voice-recognition software as the problem.
Another "Girl Tech" item that is poised to be very popular This Christmas is the "Girl Tech Digi Makeover". It has a built-in digital camera and can hook up to the owner's television. The point is to take a picture of someone and then use the device to try out different hairstyles, haircuts and makeup to see how they look. It advertises over 50 hairstyles and colors, as well as an array of makeup that makes for an almost endless combination of new looks. Unlike the diary, this item has had very positive reviews from consumers on different websites and is touted as one of the must-have items for Christmas 2007.
"Girl Tech" features many other items as well, from a digital video journal that can be hooked up to the computer for customizing entries, to a virtual pet called the "Password Puppy". The target age range for the "Girl Tech" toy line starts around age 8 and they are appropriate through the preteen years. Radica suggests that older people may enjoy them as well, but older teen girls would probably be more interested in more sophisticated technological gifts, such as the latest mobile phone or digital camera. "Girl Tech" toys, however, are a great way to show younger girls that technology is not just for boys.