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Jitterbug Sort Of Creeps Me Out

Techcrunch had a post about a new company aimed at simplifying the cell phone for old people. As much as I understand all too literally how difficult it is to deal with old people (my work supports retirees for-fucking-ever and 'til death do us part. I would add something about prying Eudora from cold, dead hands but that is uncomfortably close to the truth as it is) the whole Jitterbug concept bugs the fuck out of me. The three button phone just reminds of way too many Photoshop alterations. I'm also a little creeped out by the use of operators to do pretty much everything service-wise for phone programming. I can hear the self-inflicted gunshots ringing out from that call center in my imagination already. If you aim your product at simplicity and simplicity alone you're going to end up with simple customers. Those simple customers are also the most expensive in terms of time and support ever in the world. Jitterbug was at least straightforward enough to detail how many minutes were automatically billed when a user calls the operator but, jesus, I would not want to be one of those unlucky bastards answering billing inquiries. It won't be pretty.

I do like some of the ideas behind it especially in the context of this device being part of a vehicle trunk emergency kit where single button 911 dialing might be useful. As a phone intended as a primary use unit I'm curious to see how this is actually going to pan out over time. I'm usually completely wrong about this shit so it could be sliced (or pureed, if you're mean like me) bread for old people and by the minute calling plans. All I can envision are class action lawsuits from 'exploited' elderly folks who thought the nice operator was their friend, etc, etc. Like most things, I think that the interface actually needs some flexibility and something less condescending than huge 'I've fallen and I can't get up' buttons. Adaptive devices for people with motor function disabilities have been available for non-toy phones for nearly as long as they've existed. How many people are going to buy in to the 'aim low' plan? Fuck if I know. I just wanted to use that image.

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  1. You can bet the farm that Jitterbug and Great Call Inc. will soon be involved in class action lawsuits. I’ve seen this company firsthand falsify documents (call records in particular) to defraud seniors. There will only be more complaints as this company goes further into serious debt. Don’t buy a Jitterbug phone. You will have lots of trouble getting service and you will be overcharged by their three-person billing team.

  2. Jitterbug is a small mismanaged company where nepotism is incredibly prevelant. There is not a single leader amongst the all male executive team. Unfortunately, the lack of integrity and professionalism in the office is offset to the customer base. Stay away — this is a company that will not be around long!

  3. It looks like the dire predictions did not work out. Its 2009 and seems like the jitterbug cell phone has gone from strength to strength.

    Sure any company has had some issues with customer service and poor coverage etc. From where I sit the folks at Greatcall take a lot of trouble for their customers.

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