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Innovation

Are your gadgets coming between you and your friends?

Are your gadgets coming between you and your friends? Your spouse? Brand loyalty to electronics is wreaking havoc in unexpected places.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

I'll admit, the headline to this article makes me roll my eyes a bit.

But Pamela Paul, writing in the New York Times this morning, offers her take on one of those we-all-know-it-but-no-one-talks-about-it phenomena: affinity for gadgets displacing affinity for people -- in this case, spouses.

This isn't about taking gadgets to bed and ignoring the person sitting next to you; this is about brand loyalty. Paul writes that some couples are finding themselves on opposite ends of an electronic fence: one couple is gadget-crazed, the other is blissfully ignorant. Or worse, both are gadget-crazed, but in diametrically opposed points of view: she's on Team Apple, he's enlisted in the Android Army.

It sounds silly, but in an age of ecosystems where compatibility makes life easier, it can really become a problem.

Paul describes couples ragging on each other for their gadget choices, with consequential martial strife:

Regret? Or aggravation? Rich Hemlich, a 47-year-old marketing director for an auction Web site, said his girlfriend’s iPhone affinity drives him nuts. “She continually swears up and down that she’s not an Apple elitist but then lights up whenever anybody asks what kind of phone she has,” Mr. Hemlich, a committed Droid Razr owner, said.

He tried to persuade her, to “upgrade” but said: “That’s where we start getting into a battle. She keeps saying she’ll switch to an Android when her contract runs up, but then re-up the contract.” With everything else, “she’s completely straight with me.”

Her conclusion? We've all become evangelists, near-religious zealots for our gadget choices. And since personal electronics have truly become an intimate experience, we're occasionally willing to push the issue -- even when it can detract from our relationships, marital or otherwise.

In an age where we're constantly bombarded each day by recommendations from our friends, it seems it has become even harder to go against the grain. Forget favorite movies or hobbies: tech compatibility has become one more thing to unify -- or divide.

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