A phone that just makes calls: Now that’s a novel idea

While, it would appear the use of mobile phones drops off the older we get, a new device has been launched aimed at the elderly.

All-singing, all-dancing smartphones that can do everything from checking the latest snow conditions for you to recording your favourite television show can often by confusing for those who grew up in a less technological age.

But, it’s just as important for older people to be able to keep in touch with loved ones and comforting to know your parent or grandparent has a quick way to get hold of you in an emergency.

So charity Age UK has launched a new simply mobile, called My Phone, which we assume is a counterblast to iPhone, aimed at just this market.

“The Age UK My Phone gives you all the benefits of a mobile phone, without the complications,” said a spokesman. “It gives you the service you want at a price you can afford. You can relax when you are out and about, confident that you can easily contact your family and friends. And they can enjoy peace of mind knowing they can reach you.”

According to latest research, 68 per cent of people aged over 65 use a mobile, but that drops to just 52 per cent for the over 75s. Age UK believes its new handset will help the elderly, who maybe aren’t familiar with modern technology or who have failing eyesight, to make more use of mobiles.

Age UK has teamed up with mobile network operator CyCel to get the project off the ground. You can have your phone set up with the numbers of two, four or eight friends or family. The names appear on the front of your handset as its homepage so all you have to do is press the name to dial. The mobile also receives calls but there is no voicemail facility.

It has been brought to the market after a four-month trial in Age UK shops, with customer research helping to develop the design features including the style and quantity of buttons.

It has already been well received by critics. Oliver Pritchett at The Telegraph said: “The My Phone is a reassurance to the relatives of old people living on their own who don’t always bother – or manage – to get to the landline ringing in the other room. So long as they remember to keep it handing round their neck, of course. But it’s no use at all to the granny who likes to play Angry Birds.”

Handsets cost from £55 and you can choose from three price plans. For 50 minutes of calls, it costs £7.50 per month. One hundred minutes cost £10 and 500 minutes are £15. Or, if you want to buy one of the simple devices as a Christmas present, Age UK is offering a gift bundle which is £87.50 for the handset and 50 minutes of calls for six months.

So, as well as the demands from tweens and teens for the latest handsets, grandma or granddad may just be asking for a mobile in their stocking this Christmas too.

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