Things have moved on at Samsung since they developed the elderphone that is branded and sold in the USA as the Jitterbug (pictured below with GreatCall founders Martin Cooper and Arlene Harris) with the recent announcement of support for smartphone app developers with ideas that would appeal to seniors:
But the user friendliness of their new ultra slimline (it’s only 8.5mm thick) Galaxy SII touchscreen 3G Smartphone that packs a dual core processor and NFC (announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier today) has made the jump in usability that has the manufacturer confident enough to start directly marketing the device to grandmothers (see the “Amy from England” sequence which starts at 2.17 in above video).
I’ve been hoping the smartphone device marketeers would start to appreciate this enormous new market for their devices so it’s great to see it at last happening although one of the scripted lines really highlights the need for marketers to understand the health issues faced by seniors before producing video sequences about the senior mobile experience eg. “At my age it’s hard to remember things, but with Galaxy S II I never forget” and twinning them with pained face expressions:
NB. IF YOU ARE NOTICING DETERIORATION IN YOUR SHORT TERM MEMORY YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A DOCTOR. YOU COULD BE SUFFERING FROM EARLY SIGNS OF DEMENTIA AND EARLY INTERVENTION CAN SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVE YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE.
Also the sequence of the alone grandmother walking about in the garden seemingly asking and answering her own questions out loud in an exaggerated way also appears to suggest further depreciative appreciation of the abilities of seniors by the videos producer:
Thankfully it somewhat saves itself by demonstrating the appeal of smartphone features eg. “Video Call to my granddaughter Judy”
…and voice recognition (to help Amy compose poetry when/wherever).
How long before mobile retailers wake up to the opportunity in this large affluent segment of society and follow Japan where over half of those aged 70+ use Mobile Email and it’s common for mobile phones to be given to seniors as gifts on “Respect for Senior Citizens Day”.