Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cell Phone for (Grand) Mother

I bought my 80-something mother her first cell phone yesterday. She wants to be able to turn it on, say a name and make a call. Here are the functional spec's for her cell phone:
  • Voice-activated dialing.
  • Good signal coverage wherever she goes.
  • Clam-shell design.
  • Hearing aid compatible.
She doesn't want anything else that might confuse her. So, no voice mail, three-way calling, speaker phone, camera, MP3 player, keyboard, etc. She doesn't want to fool with menus and try to read a small screen. She doesn't want it to beep, vibrate or coo at her. She wants it to ring when a phone call comes in, assuming she has it turned on. I expect she'll have the phone off 95% of the time.

My mother is a Luddite when it comes to cell phones. Her only reason for getting one now is that she is going on a trip, and she wants to have it in case she needs help, directions, etc. I'll be setting it up and entering the names and numbers of people she is likely to call. I'll do my best to turn off or hide the "advanced" features of the phone.

What did I get her? I got her the LG 3600 from Verizon, free with the America's Choice, Basic, 1-year contract (450 mins./mo.).

I am very curious to see whether she takes to it or not. Will it become a paperweight or a valuable safety device or an indispensable communication tool or a fashion accessory or something else?

My bet is that it will mostly be a paperweight, with occasional tours of duty as a safety device.

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