New smartphones for the not-so-young

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Age is just a number and smartphones are not only for the young. With this in mind, Japan’s Fujitsu has allied with France Telecom-Orange to launch Android-powered smartphones in Europe specifically for elderly users.

Instead of the high-end Arrow Android phones, they will offer the Stylistic S-01, an Android 4.0 device especially designed for seniors. This new and exciting device has friendly big icons, louder audio and a desensitized touchscreen, according to Techcrunch.

“The senior customers within our customer base are just as hungry for smartphone technology and mobile internet services as anyone else,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Device & Mobile Multimedia at France Telecom-Orange.

While the smartphone will hit tech stores in France by June, those interested can also get a peek into the phone when it is showcased at the 2013 Mobile World Congress, which will be held at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain on 25 to 28 February 2013.

Fujitsu is breaking into the smartphone market outside of its homeland Japan for the first time. Targeting elderly buyers, although it may seem strange initially, makes a lot of sense for several reasons. Consumer knowledge firm Kantar reported that smartphone penetration in some European countries has already passed the 50 per cent mark, with the UK at 61 per cent and France well on its way at 46 per cent.

Considering the stiff competition for young buyers, with Apple and Samsung cornering a huge chunk of the market, specific targeting is required. Now seems like the right time to cater to the elderly in France, which has recorded a smartphone penetration of only 20 per cent. On top of that, three-quarters of senior mobile users intend to get a smartphone in the near future, according to a recent survey.

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