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.