At a TED talk on Wednesday, Google co-founder Sergey Brin slammed smartphones as "emasculating" — an unusual position for someone who's company is so heavily involved in the smartphone industry. Brin's point was that Google Glass offers a much better alternative.
Jennifer 8. Lee with The New York Times reported, "He said rubbing the screens of buttonless and knobless phones was strange. 'I feel like it’s kind of emasculating,' he said. 'You are just rubbing this featureless piece of glass. There isn’t anything to feel.' 'You want something that frees your eyes,' he said. Also, he said, 'We wanted to free up your ears.'"
Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Brian Womack noted, "Whatever their effect on the attributes usually associated with men, smartphones and other mobile devices are key to Google’s future as more people log onto the Internet when they’re away from desktop computers. Handheld computers are also generally a lot more affordable than Google Glass, which goes for about $1,500. What’s more, smartphones are the main conduit for Google’s Android mobile operating system, the software used in 70 percent of smartphones, according to IDC. 'People carry a supercomputer in their pocket all the time,' Google Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Larry Page said on an earnings call with analysts last month. 'In fact, we feel naked without our smartphone.'"
The Guardian's Charles Arthur observed, "While plenty of people were prepared to agree that smartphones can be socially isolating - or at least rude, when used to the exclusion of others who are present – many were also puzzled by how something used by both sexes could be 'emasculating.'"
Kevin Parrish from Tom's Hardware wrote, "Brin acknowledged that Google Glass also requires a little rubbing, but the current hardware has fewer features than most phones, thus less 'rubbing' required. Google Glass also has the upper hand because there will always be a camera ready to snap a picture by a mere voice command – rubbing is not required. The point he was seemingly trying to make is that the ideal search technology would surface information before the user even asks for it. He's been working on that problem for the last 15 years, and Google Glass is the first form factor that can truly deliver on that vision."