Since I’m fast approaching senior citizen status and find a lot to grouch about with cell phones, I was interested in Ed Oswald’s review at BetaNews of the Jitterbug phone (a product of Great Call) which is directed at senior citizens:
For many seniors, using a cell phone can be a challenging and intimidating experience. Thus, they opt to not carry a cell phone; or if they do, refrain from using it much. A company called Jitterbug aims to change that.
Every part of the Jitterbug phone — built by Samsung — is designed to take into account the needs of this group. From the design of the handset to the simplified user interface, and even features that attempt to make it as much like a regular phone as possible, the learning curve is much less steep than a traditional cellular handset.
But does this phone measure up with the consumer? BetaNews shared the Jitterbug with several people within the target demographic and what we found was a near universal positive response to the device.
Hit the link for the full review, but there’s a lot of goodness there:
The only thing they didn’t like was that it was offered for Sprint’s CDMA network only (coverage maps here), the screen could have been bigger, and that it was hard to find where to plug in the recharger.
I’m all for ergonomic improvements in cell phones since small size and small print are already an annoyance for me and my bifocals, but the latter three features take the Jitterbug into a wholly different territory specific to users who can’t handle the complexity of ordinary cellphones. Hitting the Jitterbug website shows much more of the this including a version of the phone called “Jitterbug OneTouch” that only has keys for Operator, Tow, and 911. I won’t need that for quite a while I hope, but it seems like a reasonable convenience for those that do.
Finally, I haven’t mentioned the service plans and for that I’m afraid the Jitterbug isn’t much of an improvement over regular cell phones – you still need to be a bit of a lawyer to figure them out, particularly since the phone isn’t necessarily included with the service. If you can’t figure out a cell phone menu, you may not be able to figure out the offerings either.
To net it out: the Jitterbug has a few bugs, but it seems like a worthwhile offering for senior citizens who could use cell phone access and for their loved ones who would like to provide them with it.