Telcos target elderly with large-print mobile

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012

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Telecom has joined 2degrees in launching a mobile phone with large keys and other features aimed at seniors.

The R203, priced at $129, also has a large screen with three adjustable font sizes and a loudspeaker to make it easier to hear the phone ringing.

In emergencies, a red switch at the back of the phone lets owners simultaneously set off an alarm, dial a nominated number and send a text message to four contacts.

Chief marketing officer Jason Paris expected it might appeal to adult children looking for a Christmas present for their parents.

2degrees launched its first "senior" phone on Wednesday. The Alcatel OT-536, priced at $149, has extra-large talking buttons, a fall alarm and an additional alarm which can be set as a reminder to take medication. It is designed to be compatible with hearing aids.

Senior product manager Joe Cavanagh said the "baby boomer generation and beyond" were keen to embrace technology, but wanted simple phones with easy functionality. In the case of an emergency, it would automatically text five people and call the first person on the list at the touch of a button.

The Alcatel OT-536 is a "flip-top" phone that opens up, while Telecom's R203 is a conventionally-designed mobile with the screen and keyboard housed in the same casing. It would be possible to use either phone on any network by swapping out Sim cards.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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