'No Mum, I'm not saying you're old.' 'No, I don't think you're over the hill.' All this while I'm nursing a nice bruise from having the new phone I've given as a present to my mother lashed at my head. Thankfully this is a hypothetical scenario, but I'd bank on it being pretty close to the bone if I did indeed hand her a phone billed for the 'silver generation'.
Nobody likes to be reminded that they're getting on in life, but like your taxes and another dreary X Factor cover getting the Christmas Number One; it's one of life's certainties. And as we age, our tastes and needs change. Why am I muttering on about getting old? No it's not because I have a certain 'landmark' birthday next week (cards and gifts can be sent to the Mobile Choice address), it's because I recently met up with a representative of Doro, a mobile phone manufacturer who, while not shouting about it, caters for the, how shall I put this, more mature person. Of course, Doro isn't alone in targeting this niche market, with Emporia also offering handsets such as its recent Emporia Elegance. However, Doro has had something of a rethink in how it addresses its audience.
Rather than say; 'This is our phone, it's for old people', the message is now, 'This is our phone, it may not be laden with features, but it's a cinch to use'. It got me thinking, ease of use is probably the most important aspect of any mobile phone. Sure we like our handsets to look the part, and the fact you're visiting this site, you probably like your phone with a full feature set. However, if it takes an age to master, it doesn't matter how fast its data speed is, how many megapixels the camera packs or how many gigabytes it stores, your frustration with the phone will ultimately lead to a negative experience. I point you in the direction of the Nokia E5 as a perfect example.
To be fair, operating systems are generally getting far easier to get to grips with, and those that have received criticism <cough> Windows Mobile and BlackBerry's OS, have updates that are imminent.
For what it's worth, we were big fans of Doro's latest incarnation, the Doro PhoneEasy 332gsm, and don't necessarily feel its sole target audience should be the older folk, but rather anyone who wants a phone that can call and text without needing a physics degree to master. Don't get me wrong, I won't be trading in my all-seeing, all-doing smartphone, but for someone that wants a back to basics phone that is easy to get to grips with, it could be the ideal gift. Someone like your mum for example. Just don't call her old.
Do you agree? Would you go for ease of use over features? How easy is your handset to use? Come on people, name and shame.