Smartphones are more than just your typical cellphone. They are equipped with advanced operating systems, relatively larger displays,and QWERTY keyboards. Smartphones are surely preferred over traditional cellphones if you need access to email account on the go, want a device to keep track of your contacts and schedule, or just plan on browsing the web from remote locals. You also have easier, quicker access to news, games, multimedia, and weather information. In addition to calling functionality, smartphones offer the the most basic features of a personal computer.
Currently, over 45.5 million people in the United States own smartphones; it also happens to be the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market. It is no wonder that general interest for many seniors has started to shift from basic, bear-bone phones like the Jitterbug towards smartphones. Of course though, not all smartphones are made equally. When looking for a new smartphone, there are a variety of features which seniors should be aware of. Seniors are prone to a variety of age-related deficiencies and bio-mechanical problems; to a certain extent, there are a number of features that can help compensate for these sorts of problems.
What to Look For in a Smartphone:
I. Simple Interface –
Generally speaking, smartphones are a bit harder to operate than traditional cellphones. With so many options for functionality, it is no surprise that efficiently maneuvering a smartphone might be a bit difficult for certain seniors who aren’t familiar with the technology. Though, it doesn’t always have to be this way. Certain smartphones are designed with ease of use in mind. Seniors with relatively slow cognitive processing might want to look for a smartphone with simple, easy to use, intuitive navigation.
The iPhone 4
The iPhone is known for a number of admirable features, like its apps and wonderful customer service. Though we should note that it is a pretty darn easy phone to use as well. It only has one button, the home button, and the rest of it works off a touch screen. Apps icons are color coded and arranged to help maximize identification. Overall, the design is quite intuitive; making calls and sending texts can be done in two to four clicks.
Word to the wise about smartphones; you don’t want the unit to feel cumbersome or weigh you down. While smartphones are equipped with a number of interesting and useful features, they also have the potential to be infamously heavier than your typical traditional cellphone. The fact of the matter is that users need to move the phone around with ease, whether that be up to the ear to talk or up to the eyes to take a picture. Thus, for seniors who might have weak muscles, we suggest that they look for lightweight models. In terms of lightweight, it seems as if anything that weights less than a pound is a solid purchase. Palm Pre Plus The Palm Pre Plus is a gem for seniors who might want a lightweight smartphone. It weighs under a pound but by no means does it skimp on additional features. It has a great camera, a good speaker system, a reliable keyboard. Surely recommended if you are looking for a new quality smartphone but don”t want to feel like you are lugging around a bag of bricks. III. Bluetooth – Broadly speaking, Bluetooth functionality refers to wireless technology that allows one to exchange data over short distances. In references to smartphones, Bluetooth has two main functions: a wireless bluetooth headset allows you to engage in a conversation on your headset and a Bluetooth synced cars allows you to have a conversation while driving through the car”s stereo system. Both cases help to make life easier for aging adults, who don”t need to worry about holding up phone to a his/hear respective ear. This is particularly important for driving seniors, who should always keep both hands on the wheel while driving. In sum, we deem effective Bluetooth functionality on a smartphone a senior friendly feature. HTC Droid Incredible Android Phone Known as one of the best smartphones on the market, the HTC Droid Android Phone comes equipped with effective Bluetooth capabilities. Specifically, the phone supports Bluetooth v2.1+ EDR, which allows for easy connection with hand-free headsets and speakerphones. IV. Large LCD Screen – It is no real surprise as to why seniors might want to look for a smartphone with a large LCD screen. A decline in eyesight happens to accompany the aging process and one might have a more difficult time reading text. Large LCD screens for a smartphone can help compensate for this age-relate sight decline. Thus, we suggest that you look for screens that measures at least three inches diagonally. HTC Touch HD The screen on the HTC Touch HD measures 3.8 inches diagonally, which is far and away larger than most comparable screens. The text — whether that be numbers or letters — are easy to read and the icons and pictures are easy to identify. We would also like to note that the large screen nicely compliments the 5 megapixel camera for still photos and video. V. Easy to Use Buttons – While many smartphones comes equipped with touchscreens (see the iPhone for example), for some seniors the touchscreen interface is too difficult to effectively use. Because declines with eye-hand coordination frequently accompanies age, one who can”t properly use a touch screen but still wants to have a smartphone can opt for the keyboard option. A good smartphone QWERTY has buttons that are large enough to see and soft enough to press, though still outlined by a definite shape. BlackBerry Bold 9700 Phone The BlackBerry Bold 9700 features a full 35-key QWERTY keyboard, with buttons that are easy to identify and simply enough to activate. The buttons are slightly raised and come equipped with ridges, which enables the user to physically differentiate between each button. We should also note that when you press down on a button, your push is met with spring-like feedback.