New mobiles have gadgets for the elderly
Friday 18 February 2011
As the mobile world booms with complex technological smartphones and tablets, two rival firms are carving up a growing but largely ignored market for the elderly.
Their priority is not so much to zip their users from the Internet to Facebook or from MP3 songs to photos and videos.
Instead, the gadgets they pack into their phones include a night torch that also flashes when the phone rings, or a pull-out pad for writing down notes with an actual, real pen.
"In Spain, France, Britain or Italy, there are 10 to 15 million people aged 60 or more," said Christophe Yerolymos, head of Austrian group Emporia's French subsidiary.
"Of these 15 million, about half don't use mobile phones," he added.
Even among the half that do, nearly two-thirds had devices that were not appropriate for their needs, he said at his stand in the mobile industry's annual congress in Barcelona.
Emporia, celebrating its 20th anniversary, and the Swedish group Doro, which launched mobiles for seniors in 2007, share a market which is otherwise mostly ignored.
Their phones have the same size and styling of other mobiles but with more readable screens, larger buttons and compatibility with hearing aids.
The market is not exactly overcrowded with only two companies, said Yerolymos, although Britain's Vodafone made an attempt with mixed success in the mid-2000s with its Vodafone Simply.
Emporia's customers are dynamic people who surf the Internet but mostly from home, Yerolymos said.
The Austrian business, which offers mobiles for 50 to 100 euros ($70-140), expects to move one million devices between 2010 and 2011, and twice that in the following year.
Doro boasts of 1.2 million sales since 2007.
Focussed more on health, Doro offers two models - the Easy, which is a lot like the simple-to-use Emporia phones; and the Plus, which has four buttons, A, B, C, and D with memorized numbers along with an SOS button.
Ryan Trendell, head of Doro's British business said the Plus was "very specialised, very, very easy to use. Maybe for someone who is 80, 90, maybe someone suffering with dementia or loss of memory."
Life & Style blogs
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
PTSD photo series documents what the disorder is really like – as study reveals suicides of 22 US veterans every day
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
Chair-bound workers 'should move around every hour to reduce physical and mental health risks'
The truth about student sex workers: it's far from Belle Du Jour
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...
£21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...