Explaining to your grandmother how to use a mobile phone can be a challenge. To those of us under the age of 40, the basic menu structure and controls of a mobile handset need no more explanation than the act of breathing, but to the over-60s it may as well be a concept that has dropped through a stargate from some far-away …
60 is the new 40
This alleged granny market is complete patronising ballox that deserves to fail. I and 59 and I know snowboarding, netsurfing, dopesmokers in their 60's.
Oh do keep up...
Yes, and you also read the register, which probably means that the uber-dumbphone angle of this review isn't aimed at you. This would be aimed at the likes of my Gran, who I can assure you doesn't surf the net, snowboard etc. So, don't be offended by what is a very valid angle - most of the people reading the reg will regularly get asked by relatives about all things related to technology.
I'm over 60! And I'll be buying an HTC Desire shortly.
I have a perfect app for you
It works out the price of cat food in old and new pence.
Hearing aid compatibility
Hearing aid compatibility isn't just useful for the ancient, y'know, there's plenty of us hip young things who are also deaf from spending too much time down the front headbanging at gigs.
Unfortunately, "hearing aid compatibility" focuses almost entirely on use of a telecoil. And telecoils are unbelievably shit - the sound quality is piss-poor (they pick up a heck of a lot of interference: you'll get lots of pops and crackles and 50Hz hum, as you'd expect from a primitive induction loop) and there's no privacy whatsoever: anyone can trivially overhear both sides of a conversation as there's no authentication or encryption. Thankfully, hearing aids are beginning to get Bluetooth. While that won't help with some of the places where people use the telecoil - such as conference centres and theatres, because of the impracticability of pairing with random devices - Bluetooth is exactly what you need for getting a good signal from your phone. So your dismissal of Bluetooth as being of no interest is waaaay wide of the mark.
Terminator, because I lurrrrve my cybernetic enhancements. All I need now is a laser range-finder I can power off my hearing aid.
And out of touch. Phones for the stupid, perhaps, but not phones for the old. The over-60s in my family have almost all got netbooks, laptops, touchscreen phones, handheld gps etc; even my 90 year old grandmother plays bridge on the internet.
Phones for the rest of us you mean?
At last some reviews of actual proper phones that can be used out doors and have proper phone functionaility.
Real phones for those of us that wont delude ourselves that we need to spend a fortune on quasi PC/phone gear that doesnt really work well as one or the other and costs a small fortune each month for the ability to have a poor web experience.
You know...folks with common sense.
Phones that have those capabilities, and always have, and work pretty damn well, and a few nice extras for those who want them. Each to their own.
Loud ringer for the hard of hearing
"A seriously loud ringer is good for the hard of hearing"
Given an entire generation seems intent on setting themselves up for hearing loss and/or tinitus judging by the level they set their headphones (which I suppose is, for everybody else, still prefererable to those children who feel the need to play their music on public transport out loud), these people are, it appears, going to piss off everybody into their old age through their necessarily loud ringtone as a direct result of pissing everybody off with their unnecessarily loud mp3 players.
Anonymous...so the Daily Mail don't start marketing at me as a potential punter.
There is a granny market
Of course there are tech savvy people over the age of 60 but there are also plenty who are intimidated by new technology. My mother in law is one example of a person who will not use text messages, won't set up her phone book, won't do anything which doesn't directly map with one click to the buttons on the front of the phone.
We bought her the cheapest Nokia going on the principle that they're pretty user friendly and any advanced functionality would go to waste anyway. At least she uses a mobile - the father in law refuses to even own one.
There is also a market for large button & simple phones
I found this article very useful for two reasons: these products are not stocked by the any of the major high street retailers in the UK, there are very few real group tests of this important niche product group, so finding out about these products is very time consuming and hit-and-miss.
However, the 'granny' label is far too limiting. In my experience there are many user groups that could benefit from these phones. I suggest that any user who is: not very dexterous (whether by having large fingers, athritis or other problems), has sight problems, has mental problems (unable to handle a complex interface), has co-ordination problems which make handling a small device difficult; will benefit from using one of these devices also those users who are not technically savvy (ie. suffer from 'technology dyslexia') may find the simplicity of these devices helpful.
Some examples from personal experience:
1. These phones (and large button desk phones) are very appropriate for use in pre-schools (under 5's) as part of the ICT learning, due to there large numerals and simple interface.
2. My elderly parents (70+) find mainstream mobile phones, too fiddly etc. - partly because they have arthritis, sight problems and hearing problems and partly because they are just not interested in ever changing technology.
3. A local social enterprise that works with people with learning difficulties, provide these phones to those students.
Seems a bit young, since the first one was launched in 1973, so almost 40 years ago. I clearly remember my Dad having one for work almost 20 years ago, and that was a proper phone, not a show off brick. It would even fit in your pocket (A big pocket, but non the less you could manage it without your trousers falling down), and he is 61 now.
I don't think that most 60 year olds are technophobics any more than the rest of us. My boss, in her late 30s, is more tecnophobic than my dad. Its not even like he is a tecky person, he's a dentist, not some salesman that needs the latest thing to show off, or some geek with a toy.
Granny phones huh..
In my experience, the elderly like things that are familiar to them. That's why they would LOVE this little item!
*Beer for such a Genius idea!
Genius indeed. IIRC someone tried this with some early cordless models but the hardware inside was too complex for the tech to handle well.
Not really pocket size though.
Perfect for Mother
Who could work a cassette recorder, but not a video.
Yes "Granny phone" *is* ageist, sexist and patronising. However so does the "simplefone" (which *might* not be a bad description of their capabilities) while "Phones for dummies" sounds quite hostile and patronizing. El Reg knows this, hence the teeshirts you can get with the skateboard and dentures on them.
There's a lot of CD's out there and across the Western world their numbers are set to rise. A simple to use phone (with lojack so you can recover a "confused" aged parent who has wanders off) makes quite a lot of sense.
Err - You are obviously NOT old and needing an older persons mobile.
How much! Do you KNOW how much you get on the old age pension??? I have a Samsung E1100 which has quite large buttons and cost in PAYG about a tenner.
The only thing that really gets me is that despite Samsung saying you can download ringtones you actually cannot. I hate all the ringtones Samsung give you too. And I have never ever been able to try out any new phones to sample the noises they make - you have to buy the bloody thing first.
I just want a simple, plain, small and light phone with no knobs and bollox. Large high contrast buttons, and a simple ENGLISH ringtone that sounds like a bloody phone.
I cannot find one anywhere.
I'm 61 btw.
You needs a Nokia 6310 then, send a note to Nokia and get them to start churnin' them out again.
"For those of us under 40".
What an ignorant statement - but one that is understandable, perhaps, coming from the inexperienced mind of a thirty-something year old!
Have the naysayers ever bought their parents a mobile? My dad recently decided that he wanted a DAB radio, so went round the shops asking after a wireless. He was directed to the modem section. The less buttons you can give the old dears (~70 years) the better.
The RNIB are usually lothed to recommend any particular product, rather they advise and list devices which attempt to be accessible, but IME mostly they push folk with severe VI towards TALKS or the Owasys handset. Both are products designed from the ground up by and for VI users.
Doubtless history will record it was Steve Jobs, but Torsten Brand, the developer of TALKS and guy who actually brought mobile phones to the blind, died a couple of weeks ago.
There's a tribute to him on In Touch, BBC Radio 4 tonite - should be on iPlayer later today.
BTW Apple themselves say "Use of iPhone by someone who relies solely on audible and tactile input is not recommended" rather they aim the accessibility features at people with more moderate VIs.
Give me strength
Not only are these phones insulting to the majority or older people, they're also stupidly overpriced for what they do.
A friend told me how his nan has one of these, that can tell her when she's been sent a text message, but is unable to display it - wtf?!
Get a £5 PAYG (with £10 topup) Nokia, the buttons are nearly as big, and Nokia have spent god knows how many years making the interface really easy to use. Even my luddite mother can use them!
Got one for meself
Not one of these but an Emporia Time. Works like a charm. Hardly any functionality, solid as a brick (though quite a bit smaller) and it does what it says on the tin and not one bit more. Most importantly it doesn't get in my bloody way when I trying to get work done... Handset could be better but then they always can.
Full disclosure: I'm not even close to 60. But I hate bling, tw@tbook etc...
Can we have a "I'm an old codger get the hell off my lawn" icon plz?
"to the over-60s it may as well be a concept that has dropped through a stargate from some far-away galaxy"
Cheeky young monkey! As a 62yo iPhone geek I object. I was actually reading the article hoping to find out which phone to buy for my toygirl wife, who refuses to wear her glasses so needs an A3 screen and hand-sized buttons on her tiny phone.
Despite all the whining from the tech-literate oldies there are older people who do have a requirement for simpler phones. I bought one of the other Doro phones for my Nan (in her late 80s) after a couple of nasty falls which would enable her to keep her independence but allow her to contact us in an emergency.
Dom Jolie would use...
... an iPad with the big-button dialer app.
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