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Big-button 'cell' phone

Non-portable 'cell' phone designed for the elderly
  [vote for,

In many parts of the U.S., for people who don't make many calls, mobile phone service can be cheaper than landline. Unfortunately, all the little buttons and prompts and things on a mobile phone can be confusing for elderly people.

What I would propose would be a mobile phone which would be used like an ordinary landline phone and operate primarily off wall-power (battery backup available). Picking up the receiver would provide dial tone and dialing a number would place a call (just as on a POTS [Plain Old Telephone Service] phone). The phone might need to have some knowledge about number formats, but for most areas it would be adequate to support NXX-XXXX, 1-NXX-NXX-XXXX, and N11. For international calls, a "send" button could be included, but it would not be needed for normal domestic dialing.

To be sure, boxes exist which will allow an ordinary landline phone to be used with cellular service. Such boxes would probably be overkill for this application, though, since they have to supply loop current and ring voltage. A simple all-on-one unit would seem easier and more convenient. Given the increasing elderly population, it would seem demand for a product like this would be substantial were it widely available.

supercat, May 19 2004

Handi-capable Cell Phones for those with Special Needs (article) http://www.insiderr..._StoryID_E_20001671
[phoenix, Oct 04 2004]

GreatCall Jitterbug™ http://www.gojitterbug.com/
Not out yet, available in Fall (2006, I assume). [jutta, Apr 19 2006]

emporiaLife http://www.emporia.at/shop/
Austrian company presents new line of cell phones for "50+" market. [jutta, Aug 16 2006]

UK Register mention of Vitaphone. http://www.theregis...004_gadgets_galore/
From littlecolin's mention. [jutta, Aug 16 2006]


       [phoenix] The supplied link talked about some 'emergency only' phones, but I didn't see any links to products that would mimic POTS phones (including dial tone, sending when dialing was complete, etc.)
supercat, May 19 2004

       Don't some cellphones have the ability to be dialed "remotely" by a computer when the phone is acting as a modem? If so, maybe an ordinary cell phone with an added bit of external circuitry could be used from an ordinary POTS phone. It could be made to look to the home's telephone devices as if it were the TELCO.
Gromit, May 19 2004

       There exist devices which will emulate a POTS line with a cellular connection. They're overcomplicated, however, by the requirement that they provide appropriate loop current, ring voltage, etc. Many modems aren't too picky about such things (they need enough loop current to forward-bias some diodes but that's about it) but phones that actually have to operate off loop current are.
supercat, May 19 2004

       Sorry. The idea title is for a big-buttoned cell phone. The idea goes on to mention other capabilities that (I presume you know) exist. I was just adding the last piece. My guess is, if they haven't done it, it's because no one wants it.   

       I also think you're not giving "elderly" people enough credit. It's not that big a leap to press "send" after dialing. And how many people check for dialtone before dialing?
phoenix, May 19 2004

       phoenix: There are certainly many elderly people who can handle a typical modern mobile phone without difficulty. There are others who cannot, whether because of limited dexterity or vision, or general confusion.   

       Many elderly people find it very hard to learn new things--even things that would be trivial for younger people to learn. Having a phone that works like they're used to could be very useful to them. [On a related note, one might want to engineer the phone so that certain numbers could be auto-routed to other numbers, in case a person has difficulty remembering that a person's phone number changed].
supercat, May 20 2004

       "There exist devices which will emulate a POTS..." oh, never mind then.
Gromit, May 20 2004

       This has been done (sort of) - Check out: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/03/18/cebit_200 4_gadgets_galore/   

       "Click Senior-Tel, developed by German company Vitaphone. It's a full-blown GSM phone for the elderly and confused - with just three buttons. Two buttons can be programmed to call a specific number, the third one is used to call emergency services. All well and good as long as long as you aren't so far gone that three buttons is simply two too many."
littlecolin, Jun 09 2004

       littlecolin, put your link into the link box, above here. rather cleverly named *link*. I would do it for you but your URL seems up the swannie...
po, Jun 09 2004


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