News and commentary on gadgets and technology: mobile phones, pda's, Tivo, Treo, digital cameras and photography and lots more gadget nirvana.
Mobile Phones for the Elderly
Engadget has a piece on cellphone company’s starting to market phones to the elderly.  All I can say is, what took them so long???  The article wonders “will they become like so many other markets, one for every type? Will there be a soccer mom phone with a built-in kid herder?”  Um, hello?  Aren’t there already lots of phones geared to specific market niches?  There are so many different phones of different styles with different functionality, why on earth are the elderly somehow not a valid market niche?  I have a lot of older relatives who simply don’t have the technical propensity (not having grown up in a world of computer automation) to operate your average cell phone beyond the basics of calling a number or answering the phone, let alone being able to easily see and press the tiny buttons.  We have laws that compel builders to create “reasonable accommodations” so that those with disabilities can access places that are meant for the public, while others actively seek to provide equipment or services for those who have special needs.  So why is it such a stretch to expect that companies making high-tech devices must ignore a huge market segment because it doesn’t fit with some “young and ” demographic they’ve decided for themselves?  I’m not saying that all companies must provide phones for every niche market, but I’m shocked at how this sizable market has been almost completely ignored, at least until fairly recently.  And why on earth would someone complain because it isn’t their niche.  Don’t you have enough devices marketed at your own demographic?  If so, why be so stingy and deny an underserved market their fair share?

posted Thursday, 14 October 2004

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