Are smartphones too girly for men?

Google co-founder Sergey Brin says the handheld devices -- whose ads are key to Google's growth plans -- are 'emasculating.'

By Aimee Picchi Feb 28, 2013 12:06PM

Businessman using smartphone © Image Source, Image Source, Getty ImagesWould you rather walk around looking down at a smartphone in your hand or with a set of "augmented-reality" eyeglasses wrapped around your head? 


If you're Google (GOOG) co-founder Sergey Brin, the answer is obvious. Smartphones are "emasculating," he said in a TED talk on Wednesday that was meant to promote his company's new Google glasses, according to the conference's blog.


"Is this what you’re meant to do with your body?” he said, referring to how people hunch over their smartphones. TED, or the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, is known for featuring speakers with innovative, sometimes world-changing ideas such as conservationist Jane Goodall and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who wants to make school lunches healthier.


Brin's attack on the smartphone is all the more startling given Google's push to generate greater advertising sales from the handheld devices. Even worse, Google's Android operating system is the preferred software for smartphones, with about 70% of the devices loaded with that operating system


Google glasses, though, have a long road ahead of them to gain consumer acceptance, no matter how manly Brin thinks they look. For one, they cost about $1,500 plus tax, as my colleague Kim Peterson wrote earlier this month


Google Glass, a high-tech device that wraps around consumers' eyes, has fewer hardware features than most phones, writes Cnet. But Brin said they offer other benefits, such as allowing people to snap pictures at the ready.


Not everyone was convinced. "I can see the argument that dicking around with our phones in public is not cool," wrote technology writer John Gruber at daringfireball.net. "Strapping a computer display to your face is not the answer."


At TED, Brin wore a pair of Google glasses, giving him the air of a disheveled, T-shirt-clad pirate. But hey, maybe that's the kind of manly look he thinks guys want.


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7Comments
Feb 28, 2013 5:52PM
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Translation, I'm trying to market a new product!!!

Having a smartphone doesn't make me girly, having a hello kitty cover on it, does!!!!
Feb 28, 2013 5:27PM
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Photo of Google Glasses: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/sergey-brin-explains-google-glasses/
Um, no thanks.
Feb 28, 2013 4:18PM
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This is what happens to smartest guys who are so devoted to tech and self righteousness that they  forget that there is real world there far beyond their capacity to understand.

 

So smart yet so dumb.

Feb 28, 2013 3:55PM
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"Would you rather walk around looking down at a smartphone in your hand or with a set of "augmented-reality" eyeglasses wrapped around your head? "

 

Either way, you deserve to walk into a lamp post.
 


Feb 28, 2013 3:12PM
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What? He thinks I'm girly?  Oh no.  Let me rush right out and get his glasses because his opinion means so much to me.
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This is ridiculous. There is nothing emasculating about a smart phone. They need to be working on something cool like hoverboards instead of trying to invent glasses that can't do anything a phone can do for one third the cost.
Feb 28, 2013 12:40PM
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I think Mr Brin has an "..issue.." with the size of his "feet", lol.
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