A Niche of a Niche

Smartphones for Seniors Get Little Traction


Doro_lDemographics don't always correlate with the realities of the market. Smartphones for seniors seems an obvious niche given the expanding penetration rate of smartphones and the growing elderly population. However, it appears there's been limited demand for such devices.

Yesterday, Doro, a Swedish phone manufacturer specialising in handsets for seniors, reported that its smartphone makes up only 7% of its mobile device sales. The company's portfolio has several simplified, big-button feature phones and one smartphone: the Liberto 810. Doro has stripped away levels of complexity in its user interfaces and made the hardware large and clear, with screens optimised for older eyes and sound optimised for older ears.

The Liberto 810 is a 3G Android device tailor-made for seniors and their families. It has a four-inch 800 x 480 touch screen, a simple five-megapixel rear camera and front VGA camera, GPS and Wi-Fi, and runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on a single-core 1 GHz processor. It's a few years behind its time, but the goal isn't to break new ground. What it lacks in horsepower it makes up for in ease-of-use — the user interface is a grid of large icons, and the home screen is optimized with quick access to three contacts. It retails for about $200, unsubsidized and unlocked.

What makes the Liberto 810 interesting isn't the hardware, but rather Doro's remote management service that enables the user's family to remotely maintain the smartphone. This includes the device's layout, contacts list and apps. It's an appealing feature which the company should highlight above the usual handset specs.

The fact that Doro finds few seniors upgrading from feature phones to smartphones isn't surprising. A converged device like a smartphone is likely to have limited appeal to the elderly, while dedicated feature phones are more similar to fixed-line phones. Many younger seniors such as those in their 60s have been using mobile technologies and the Internet for more than a decade. This means that many are already comfortable with smartphones — the modern-day older generation is hip and IT-ready. Given the large number of low-cost smartphones and tablets available, the window for smartphones optimised for seniors is closing.

Nonetheless, CCS Insight believes that handset makers and platform providers should pay attention to the ageing population and look to add features to their existing products which could benefit older users (see Phone-Makers Must Improve for an Ageing Population). It's important to cater to the realities of the market, and accessibility is about more than creating goodwill. Products on the market will now have to mature with their users.

This entry was posted on August 22nd, 2014 and is filed under Devices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Peter Bryer On August 22nd, 2014


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
More deals by @Alipay will help Chinese travellers spend money in Europe and support its goal of 2 billion users https://t.co/8myjdX2H5x
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @kestermann: The latest @CCSInsight Hotline is a critique of O2 Home and a review of the wider connected home market in the UK: https://…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
The Global Virtual Reality Association is a who's who of key players in VR. Interested to see how it evolves.… https://t.co/6jCF251gWg
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
At last authorities getting tough on crappy #IoT devices for privacy/security: https://t.co/zsC9R8YGy8. I saw Cayla… https://t.co/VUGPdaTYNF
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
@sdrakemobile @redhatmobile thanks Steve. @nickmcquire warrants some kudos for the Apple prediction in that piece :)
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
@lsherloc thanks for sharing!
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Punchy offer from #SaltMobile. Shaking up the Swiss market. Expect the same if & when it decides to move into fixed… https://t.co/MvpmBTvtKR
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
@hsorrell Sorry only saw your message this morning at 9.
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
The latest @CCSInsight Hotline is a critique of O2 Home and a review of the wider connected home market in the UK:… https://t.co/LZX3Xqgv8R
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
RT @benwood: Wow. Great HTC Vive Black Friday / Cyber Monday deal. £100 discount. @htcvive https://t.co/ichPmK3fVJ
Follow George
Katie Taylor
Pfizer fined record £84.2m for overcharging NHS https://t.co/uYCM6GUxUi
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Alipay Expands into Europe The Payment Service Taps into Chinese Overseas Travellers ... Read more
Blog Post
Moto Takes a Breather Lenovo Turns Away from Smartwatches The Moto 360 was one of... Read more
Blog Post
MediaTek Unveils Auto Ambitions The Automotive Chipset Space Heats Up As cars become smart ... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
The Mobile Phone Market Has Peaked   Shipments hit a plateau of about 2 billion units a year ... Read more
More news