Innovation through simplicity

01 Nov 2006|Added Value

We’ve done a lot of work on mobile devices and technology at Cheskin, and we know that different consumer segments often want very different things from their phone.

From capturing photos and video, accessing email and the web, playing music and games, to potentially replacing the PC (see my colleague Leigh Marriner’s post about Symbian’s declaration), cell phones keep pushing the envelope.

Yet, there are certain types of consumers who crave less, not more. Now Jitterbug by Great Call has launched a new service aimed at Baby Boomers and Seniors focused on a simple and streamlined user experience. Perhaps this positioning has an even wider appeal?

Jitterbug only offers 2 phones: one with a large, easy to read keypad, and one with only 3 buttons (911, Operator, and 1 customized tel #). They are priced the same, have a cushioned earpiece and incorporate an actual dial tone (nice touch!).

While the model with only 3 buttons is similar to other carriers’ offerings aimed at parents who want to give their young children an emergency phone, the other model seems like it was designed expressly for users who have been searching in vain for a simple, basic, easy to use cell phone.

Jitterbug is targeting Boomers and Seniors (with industrial design touches like large keypad numbers) but it seems like this concept could have broader appeal among other age groups that attitudinally prefer a simple phone.

It’s surprising that none of the big carriers have figured this out yet. Walking into a Verizon, Sprint, or Cingular store usually means being confronted with a myriad of choices with seemingly similar yet different models.

It will be interesting to see how Jitterbug does and who actually becomes their customers.

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