South Korea to push phones, services for elderly and kids

The government is partnering local carriers to offer smartphones and services for people over 65 years old. Features include reduced sensitivity of touchscreen, enlarged icons, reduced service charges and higher data quotas.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

South Korean telcos will launch phones and services customized for people over 65 years old and children under 12 years old, in cooperation with the government.

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Example of a homescreen featuring enlarged buttons. (credit: Joongang Daily)

For example, the new phones will have redesigned main screens for use by people bewildered by the usual layout of smartphones, said the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning,  in a Joongang Daily report on Monday. Icons will be simplified and enlarged, with a home screen holding the apps most frequently used by older people such as calling, camera, and direcet media broadcasts.
Other features include:

  • Emergency call function that will automatically contact a preset list of numbers, such as close family and friends, if the device is not used for either 12 or 24 hours.
  • Reduced sensitivity of the touchscreen, because older people tend to press on a phone icon much longer than younger users.
  • Lower service charges, by between 10 and 30 percent, for calls to selected families and friends.
  • Higher data quotas.
  • Apps that help parents track their children's device locations, and monitor their usage of apps and Web sites.

The services will be bundled free with the phone on purchase, which will all run on the Android operating system.
Smartphone makers that have targeted the older demographic, include Swedish telecommunications company, Doro. It rolled out the Doro PhoneEasy 740, as part of a wider mobile ecosystem for seniors.

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