Tech companies team up to create senior-friendly smartphone

Older adults are more likely than ever to include technology as a staple of senior living, and a new partnership between two companies may help make it easier for them to do so. Fujitsu recently announced plans to team with Orange Telecom to launch its first smartphone, which will be designed specifically for elderly users, according to Engadget.com. The companies are hoping to release the new product by June 2013.

This is not the first time that Fujitsu has created a senior-friendly device, but it is the first that falls in the smartphone family. Known as the Stylistic S01, the phone will feature a touch screen outfitted with keys meant to mimic the look and feel of physical keys. Oversized icons and audio technology will be used to make it easier for older callers to hear the person on the other end.

"The senior customers within our customer base are just as hungry for smartphone technology and mobile internet services as anyone else," said Yves Maitre, the senior vice president of device and mobile multimedia for Orange Telecom. 

The move could prove to be a boon for seniors, who enjoy the many benefits of smartphones other than internet access. Many apps can help steer them toward healthy aging. For instance, Medication Tracker can help seniors manage multiple prescriptions to avoid mix-ups and missing doses. Additionally, stimulating puzzles, such as those offered by the UnBlock Me app, can help seniors stay mentally active. 

According to a recent Pew Research study, an estimated 46 percent of American adults are smartphone users, many of whom are 65 and older. In February 2012, about 13 percent of the senior population used smartphones, which is a 2 percent increase compared to 2011.