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March 5, 2013

Simplified smartphones are available for boomers and seniors

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior,

Are there any smartphones specifically designed for seniors that you know of? I’m interested in getting one, but at age 69, I want to find one that’s easy to see and use. 

— Semi-Smart Senior

 

Dear Semi-Smart,

There are actually several manufacturers who are now making simplified smartphones with features designed primarily for older users who have limited experience with modern gadgetry. Here’s a rundown of what’s currently and soon-to-be available.

Pantech Flex: One of the best and most affordable age-friendly smartphones on the market today is the Pantech Flex (see pantechusa.com/

phones/flex), sold through AT&T for only $1 with a two-year contract.

This Android-powered touch screen phone has a bright 4.3-inch screen, with a fast 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 8 megapixel camera. But what makes this phone ideal for seniors is its Easy Experience mode which provides a simple, clean home screen with large fonts, clearly marked icons and quick access to the phone’s most essential features — your phone, camera, messages, menu, Web, contacts, along with shortcuts to your favorite apps.

It also offers convenient features like voice dialing and voice commands, and SwiftKey technology that predict the next word you want to type to make texting faster and easier. 

Individual monthly service plans for AT&T start at $30 for 200 minutes of talk time (for customers 65 and older), $20 for unlimited text messaging and $20 for 300 MB of data.

Jitterbug Touch: Offered by GreatCall Wireless — the same company that makes the Jitterbug big-button cell phone — the Touch is actually a Kyocera Milano smartphone that’s been rebranded and loaded with GreatCall’s simplified user interface software.

It offers a 3-inch touch screen, and a full slide-out keyboard with raised, backlit buttons that makes it easier to type messages. And when you turn the phone on, you get a simple menu list with large fonts that let you access often-used features like the phone, camera, messages and pictures, along with your contacts and apps. 

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