AIDS vs. breast cancer smackdown: We round up pink and red gadgets

When companies support charities with their products, everybody wins. The buyers get to look like concerned citizens while buying stuff. The companies seem benevolent because their ad campaigns create "awareness." And the charity gets some cash — sometimes more, sometimes less. With all this in mind, which cause is better to support this season: AIDS or breast cancer? Overlooking for a moment that these diseases are completely different and affect totally different populations, we've taken a closer look at the most prominent red and pink gadgets to better guide your Samaritan senses. Check them out after the jump.

The two design darlings of the past few years, the iPod and the RAZR, have entries in this category, as well as some other big-ticket luxury brands. We've seen press shots of Bono and Oprah listening to a red iPod nano and Gap clothes have turned almost entirely red. The money goes to the Global fund to fight AIDS in Africa. nano_red.jpgThe Red nano: There's no getting around it: it's a beautiful object. The red iPod nano comes in 4-GB and 8-GB models, and it doesn't cost any more than other colored nanos with comparable memories. Apple donates just $10 per iPod to Bono's foundation, whether you shell out $200 or $250. But buying any other nano will make you look like an insensitive tool. red_razr.jpgThe Red RAZR: Motorola, as usual, has done things less stylishly than Apple. Its bid to fight AIDS seems needlessly complicated, and the company is cagey about how much money from the sale of the red RAZRs will go to charity. It's available only in the U.S., while the red SLVR is available only in the U.K. I'm not sure whether that's supposed to be "cool" on Motorola's part, or if they're trying to save money — either way, it's not a good plan. But since you probably already have a cell phone, perhaps it would be better to get the red bluetooth headset, which costs a simple $60 with $5 going to charity. The Red watch: Emporio Armani is going to town with this whole red business — they're planning sunglasses, wallets, jeans, even a perfume. But right now they're selling this classy red watch for $225, with 40% of "profits" going to the cause. Their profit margin is probably fairly high, but then again, there are plenty of funny ways to calculate profit. According to Bono, however, the goal of the red venture isn't to give the most money to fight AIDS at one time, but to make the effort sustainable. Good luck keeping a color hot for more than one season, Bono.
The breast-cancer cause doesn't have a swanky website or a superstar spokesman, but it does have more, and more appealing products. The pink gadget-makers tend to be clearer about how much money from your purchase is going to the cause (the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer foundation or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation). Maybe that's because they consistently give more. The downside is that these products are very girly looking, and there are tons of decoys. pink_drive.jpgThe Pink hard drive: Seagate's 6-GB external hard drive is the size and shape of a rollerblade wheel, and this edition comes in a satisfying shade of pink. Included onboard are eight pop songs, one video, and a self-breast examination guide. The songs aren't by big name stars (Joan Jett is the best known of this bunch), but they are iTunes-compatible. At $109, with $11 going to the cause, it's a good gift for the girlfriend who needs to back up her documents or doesn't know how to do a self-examination. The Pink radio: This edition of the Pioneer Inno is an XM radio with 1 GB of storage that goes for $300 with $30 going to cancer. But there's a catch: XM only donates the $30 for the first 5000 units purchased. How will you know that yours is actually charity-friendly? pink_polaroid.jpgThe Pink cameras: Four cameras. Four different shades of pink. Endorsed by Elizabeth Hurley. But Polaroid will give $60,000 to the Breast Cancer Research foundation whether you buy one or not. The pink Sanyo phone: It's no RAZR, but that may be the appeal. If you buy a pink Sanyo phone with Qwest wireless, they'll donate 10% of the sticker price to research. Phones start at $20.