TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Simplifying the Cellphone Experience

Simplifying the Cellphone Experience

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 31 Dec 2006 11:44:34 -0500

By Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret

You own a cellphone, but someone else added the names and numbers
stored in it. You don't keep your phone turned on, nor do you think to
charge it regularly. Your voicemail was set up by one of your kids or
grandchildren, and you don't know how to check it. You begged the
cellphone salesperson to sell you the most basic phone.

If you're nodding as you read this, either personally relating to the
challenges of using a cellphone or on behalf of someone you know,
you're not alone. Many people -- especially baby boomers and their
parents -- feel anxious about using these increasingly complicated
gadgets. These people are usually smart and capable, but just don't
know their way around a cellphone.

This week, we tested two new cellphones and a new cellphone service
designed to address this problem, by placing simplicity and
ease-of-use first. These $150 phones are called Jitterbugs, and they
come from a Del Mar, Calif., company called GreatCall Inc. Its phones
are physically and functionally different, emphasizing easy navigation
with large buttons and simple menus. And its service includes an
operator who acts as a concierge, optionally placing calls for you and
even remotely adding numbers to your phone's contact list.

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