New mobiles have gadgets for the elderly

Feb 17, 2011 by Sebastien Guine
Mobiles phones by Austrian group Emporia are displayed at the 3GSM World congress in Barcelona on February 17. 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.

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 .

The market is not exactly overcrowded with only two companies, said Yerolymos, although Britain's 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."

Explore further: FINsix small-size laptop adapter uses special power platform

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vodafone Simply: the more the better?

May 21, 2005

Vodafone announced the launch of Vodafone Simply, a new, easy to use mobile service which has been designed for customers who only want a mobile phone with voice and text services. Vodafone Simply is aim ...

Mobile phone sales up six pct in 2008, 4th qtr weak

Mar 03, 2009

Mobile phone sales grew by six percent in 2008 over the previous year but fell nearly five percent in the fourth quarter as the global economy weakened, market research firm Gartner said on Tuesday.

Greeks to register prepaid cell phones

Jun 17, 2009

(AP) -- Greece's prepaid mobile phone users will now have to register their identities in a bid to tackle illegal immigration and other crime, the communications minister said Tuesday.

LG projects 2010 mobile phone sales at 140 million

Jan 13, 2010

(AP) -- LG Electronics Inc. said Wednesday that it expects a significant increase in mobile phone sales this year as it rolls out 20 new smartphones and aims to become one of the world's top two sellers by ...

Recommended for you

Study: Samsung phone durable, but iPhone has edge

Apr 14, 2014

Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.

Invention loves collaboration at Milan show

Apr 14, 2014

Collaboration drove invention during Milan's annual International Furniture Show and collateral design week events, yielding the promise of homes without mobile phone chargers, and with more ergonomic seating, ...

Amazon 'to release smartphone later this year'

Apr 12, 2014

Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Magnimpie
not rated yet Feb 28, 2011
Ive been using the samsung t155 SVC phone that tracfone are pushing as the phone to use if you're a senior. The experience has been alright, but sometimes it doesnt pick up signal as good as I would like, which would be have signal all of the time. A salesman told me it was because the phone is GSM, and those particular network waves aren't that proliferant where I stay. Tracfone needs to introduce another phone.

More news stories

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.