Currently, the best phone on market for people born before 1945 is a feature flip phone from Alcatel, the OneTouch 2010. There exist several reasons why.
For starters, it’s a flip phone. The mechanical action of bidirectional flipping is a concept anyone who has used a light switch is familiar with. The implications of each action are observable in the real world. Opening the phone initiates a session where the phone is active. Closing the phone concludes that session. Some psychologists suggest that hearing the noise of the clasp as it closes reinforces the perception of the beginning and ending of use. These ideas are tangible and easy to understand, but they only explain how your relative can answer a call. What if they want to call you?
The answer is speed dial. After manually programming in your relative’s phone numbers, the most important numbers can be assigned to speed dial. Laminated phone charts can be helpful in aiding your elderly relative. This chart would ideally have large text, showing names followed by their speed dial assignment within the phone. With speed dial set up, your relative can have 9 potential people which which can easily contacted. Speed dial instructions vary, but most involve opening the phone, then pressing and holding the corresponding speed dial digit.
This is where the Alcatel 2010 excels. Aesthetic-wise, this flip phone is minimalist, simple, and elegant. This design looks great, but also serves in drastically enhancing function. The keypad contains only the necessary buttons for making calls. The 2010’s reduction of buttons is complimented by an excellent engineering choice which uses an edge-to-edge design for the keypad. This design creates additional surface area, further increasing the size of buttons. This design makes possible the largest in-class hit boxes for shaky fingers to connect with. Plain and simple, the keypad is the sole determiner of what makes this device the go to option for elderly persons. Its appearance is easily interpretable for their eyes and minds, and its buttons are adequately large for their fingers to press.
In contrast, nearly every other flip phone on the market tack on superfluous buttons. 2 MP rear-cameras, ancient web-browsers, and dedicated Facebook buttons are among the “features” that any person who is using a flip-phone 2014 doesn’t need and will never use. These additional buttons take up space on an already cramped surface area. They also confuse elderly people (aka people who use a flip phone in 2014).
Praises acknowledged, there are areas where the 2010 can improve. The screen is rather small at 2.4 inches or 61 mm, measured diagonally. It would be nice to see Alcatel incorporate an edge-to-edge design for the screen in the 2010’s successor, regardless of screen resolution. As for the speaker and microphone, this US writer cannot say. The most important improvement which Alcatel can make gains on is availability.
The 2010 is sold on several carriers in several markets across the planet. To name a few, Vodafone UK & O2 Germany are two carriers who provide this device. But if you and your relative reside within the United States, tough luck. The phones themselves cost $45, taxes included, in England and Germany respectively. That price is for a new device with full one-year warranty. But for US consumers, these phones can only be purchased used on eBay for $100 + 20 international shipping. Those prices exclude the warranty. But even were the warranty included, Alcatel’s authorized US repair center is prohibited from servicing the device.
Feeling blue? Wait just a second…
Some potentially hopeful news was recently made public. According to a recent interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Alcatel OneTouch Chief Marketing Officer Dan Dery discussed the company’s plans for 2015. He states Alcatel’s intentions of making a push towards directly marketing to interested consumers. Company plans involve some form of e-commerce. His statements were very vague and ambiguous. But, were a US storefront to materialize, there exists zero guarantee that the 2010 would even be available.
For the sake of the elderly here in the United States, let’s hope that this possibility becomes an actuality.