Smartphones are "emasculating," said the guy wearing the dorky cyborg glasses with the miniature computer screen over one eye.
Yep, that was Google co-founder Sergey Brin's take on a device millions treasure and which helps his company rake in big bucks every year. Brin was speaking at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California when he started warning of the supposed threat to one's manhood posed by smartphones, as noted by CNET.
"You're standing around and just rubbing this featureless piece of glass," he elaborated, according to the tech site.
How exactly that's "emasculating" wasn't entirely clear from Brin's comments, but the whole riff appeared to be an attempt to argue that the Google Glass spectacles he's thrown his weight behind over the past few years are supercharged engines of machismo compared with the swift kick to the nads you'll get from a smartphone.
Metaphorically, of course - smartphones don't literally unman a fellow. But they do cost users a few precious seconds take a photo, whereas the Google Glass headgear he's taken to wearing everywhere he goes can snap a shot on a moment's notice. Plus, Brin's augmented reality vision is to provide search results before you even have to ask for it and Google Glass "is the first form factor that can deliver that vision," CNET quoted him as saying.
Photography and web search be odd choices for activities that separate the truly masculine from the also-rans, but to give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the Google co-founder simply misspoke. Because "emasculating" is certainly an odd descriptor for a smartphone, unless he was talking about one of these. Or this, which could really cut a guy down to size.
Heck, with all their bells and whistles, today's smartphones resemble nothing more than one of James Bond's handy gadgets, and nobody ever accused the British superspy of being anything less than a man.
Why even go there anyway? Presumably, Brin hopes to sell Google Glass to more people than just compensating men. Including that huge demographic which presumably doesn't much care if a product will make parts they don't own feel more safe and secure. Let's cut him some slack and give him a pass on his poor word choice, unless he makes this whole "emasculating" thing a recurring theme.
Meanwhile, Google Glass is a pretty cool product and also not emasculating in any way, because that's a dumb way to talk about technology. We'll give Brin this though - owning a pair of the $1,500 (£990) goggles probably means you've got a fairly sizable bulge in your bank account.