2006 Holiday Pre-Preview
When we first covered the Jitterbug phone from GreatCall at CTIA this spring, it received a very positive response. It might seem silly to some people, but many others realize that there is a very large, under-served market for phones designed with seniors in mind.
Now, six months later, the Jitterbug is finally ready to dance. The company is accepting orders via their website, and phones will start shipping in a couple of weeks.
Not much has changed since we first saw the Jitterbug, although we did spend some time with it to understand the interface a bit better.
The default screen when you open it is a "phone list" of contacts you can call. The up/down buttons let you scroll through your contacts, and pressing "yes" dials that contact. Your list of contacts is programmed remotely by an operator over the phone, and automatically synced with the phone over the air. Future models will let you add new contacts on the phone yourself.
There aren't any menus on the Jitterbug; instead, the "yes" and "no" buttons do pretty much everything. The interface is so simple and basic that this method actually works pretty well. For example, if you open the phone and want something other than your contact list, you just press "no" to tell it that's not what you want. Then it asks you if you want to voice dial. Pressing "no" again brings up a prompt to check for voicemail messages. Finally, pressing "no" again will display a call history screen. Since that's about all you can do on the phone, everything is just a couple of button presses away, using just one button.
For more on the Jitterbug, check out our report from CTIA.