Skip to the content \ accessibility

« »

Tech Giant Launches Smartphone For Older People

A smartphone designed for elderly people has been developed by global technology company Fujitsu.

When setting up the Stylistic S01 phone the user inputs their age, which customises some aspects to work differently. For example, the audio frequency range will be optimised for older people so they can clearly hear the voice of the person they are speaking to, and the phone can also slow down the speech of a caller without losing audio quality, again making it easier to understand.

The Stylistic also features a forgiving touch-screen which highlights icons if they are only touched lightly. This means that accidental touches – common by people not familiar with smartphone controls – will not immediately lead to an undesired function.

Each sub-screen on the phone also contains a question mark icon which gives the user guidance for that page.

“People are living longer, have access to better healthcare and want to have access to the same communications channels (email, social media) that their younger family does.” James Maynard, product marketing director at Fujitsu, told E-Access Bulletin.

The Stylistic S01 phone will be released in France in June. The cost has not been confirmed, but it will be priced as a “mid-range handset”, Maynard said. The phone’s release in other countries is under discussion between Fujitsu and telecommunications partner Orange.

Fujitsu also recently unveiled another technological innovation designed to assist elderly people, the ‘New Generation Cane’. This is a prototype of a walking stick with built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, which could send the user’s location and health data to a cloud network. Data could then be sent back to the cane to help direct the user. Family members can also check the heart rate of an elderly relative using the cane via the cloud, to check that they are not encountering difficulties. There is currently no indication of if and when the cane might become a purchasable product, however.


  1. Jeff Seager | March 29th, 2013 | 4:33 pm

    Bravo and kudos to Fujitsu (though age is only one predictor of such need, so I think their emphasis on that aspect may be skewed a bit)! As with web design, application design for smartphones has a long way to go if we want them to be more accessible to all. I’m a recent convert to a smartphone, and being older now it’s becoming easier for me to imagine the experience of someone with macular degeneration or cataracts, to offer two very common examples that would make using a typical smartphone challenging.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that many smartphone and mobile app creators set up their default interfaces beginning with a blank white or otherwise very bright screen, then add their functional elements to that glaring white background. I’m guessing this derives from our old-school understanding of the screen as a metaphor for print, a bleached white page, and it’s simply wrongheaded. We are peering into a light source, after all, so as often as possible we should be designing such that the background pixels are dark and the functional elements are (relatively) the brighter objects on screen. It’s the polite thing to do, to protect and preserve eyesight, and it makes sense in other ways, as the eye is drawn to the brighter and larger elements on a “page” of any kind.

    Who knows how much damage can be done to the eyes of people using these things for a lifetime? Must we wait to see the adverse effects to prompt a change in our bad design habits? Well, maybe not for long. I’m using a browser called Dolphin on my Android phone, and among several very nice features it includes a plugin for “Night Mode.” This mode instantly dims the screen significantly and greatly reduces contrast, making for comfortable glare-free reading in very dim light or absolute darkness. Smart. I’d like to see more of such thoughtful design, and I hope Fujitsu’s first steps with the Stylistic SO1 will provoke more thought and action in that direction.

Post a comment

Comment spam protected by SpamBam