(NEW YORK) — A cell phone for seniors: it’s not a brand new concept, but there’s a new one hitting the market very soon.
Clarity, which is a division of Plantronics, has just announced its new Pal phone for seniors. The device is a very basic phone, but has features specifically tailored for senior citizens.
“We are seeing more seniors using cellphones. Over 75 percent of them use cell phones, though they use them for more security and peace of mind,” Jamie van den Berg, VP at Clarity, told ABC News.
The phone is lightweight and has a rubberized keyboard, making it easier for users suffering from arthritis. It also has a tone control and higher amplification so those who are hard of hearing can adjust the audio profiles to a higher range. A talking keyboard and talking caller ID are built-in for the visually impaired. Lastly, the menus are very simple to navigate, van den Berg said.
However, the one thing that might stand in the way of the Pal and its users might be the distribution model. The Pal will be available only online at first, through Clarity’s website. The $99 phone is also sold unlocked, meaning you’d need to sign up for service at a carrier, like T-Mobile and AT&T, and pop the SIM card in. Van Den Berg did say that Clarity has partnered with PureTalk USA for some offerings and that he assumes some younger customers will help set up the phone for their older parents.
The Jitterbug, a competing cell phone for seniors, is available through brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy and WalMart.
And while Van den Berg said he is very interested in teaming up with carriers, he is finding it hard to do so. “We’re finding carriers are focused so much on 3G and data. This population doesn’t use as much data as others — it’s not the focus for them.”
The Pal will be available at the end of the month through clarityproducts.com/pal.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Ahiza Garcia, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN Newswire
Susie East, CNN