Although the majority of mobile phones produced today are designed more for style and features, there is a specific contingent of people who require phones with larger buttons and controls. Elderly customers need a phone that is easy to see and understand, and does not require advanced knowledge of cellular technology to operate. For those individuals, a few specialty brands have stepped up to offer models that are more user-friendly.
Mobile phones offer a measure of security to aging consumers. The ability to reach friends and family for special assistance is important, since healthcare providers can not always be available twenty-four hours a day for emergencies and urgent requests. Having a phone with simple controls gives them peace of mind and confidence in staying connected to those who help them on a daily basis.
The large majority of this special subset of mobile customers are not invalids. Many volunteer and participate in social and civic groups or provide assistance for less fortunately individuals. Their physical limitations do not limit their desire to communicate and remain active in their communities and families.
Clarity is one brand that has been a leader in telephone handsets for the hearing impaired and special needs market sectors around the world. The company was acquired by Plantronics in 1986, opening the door for new markets in the mobile phone industry. The models designed by the company are compatible with hearing aids and provide amplification for those who work in noisy environments or suffer from hearing loss.
In addition to standard ringtones, the phones usually have lighted dials and a vibration function to signal an incoming call. All of the buttons on these big button mobile phones can produce audible sounds in use, and the oversize screens make the readouts easier to see. Many of the models in use also have an emergency call button that dials up to five individual numbers simultaneously until someone answers to provide assistance in a dangerous or life-threatening situation.
Although the phones are not cheap, the measure of security that they provide for handicapped, hearing-impaired, and elderly customers can prove invaluable in the right situation. Part of the phone's high price point is due to the fact that these phones are unlocked for GSM networks, meaning they can potentially be used with a number of service providers.
Another vendor in the big button mobile phones market is Swedish-based Doro, which has been popular in Europe and Australia for thirty-five years. The company made a grand appearance at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Their low-price, easy to use phones have begun to penetrate the US market, providing stiff competition for established brands in the States like Jitterbug and Motorola. Doro's phones are not light on features, either. The company offers a 410gsm model that includes calculator, alarm clock, Bluetooth technology, and an FM radio.
Big button mobile phones will continue to have an impact on cellular sales as aging consumers continue to demand reliable handsets that provide superior decibel audio response, oversized controls, and simple features that offer a measure of security to this unique class of mobile phone users.