GreatCall launches Jitterbug Smart2, its new UX-focused smartphone for seniors

It's the company's first new phone since 2016 and its first since its $800M acquisition by Best Buy.
By Jonah Comstock
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Fresh off the news of its acquisition by Best Buy, aging in place tech company GreatCall has announced the Jitterbug Smart2, the first update since 2016 to its line of smartphones for seniors. It was the original Jitterbug flip phone for seniors that first launched the company in 2006. Since then the company has grown to include a senior care call center and a line of personal emergency response devices, as well as a variety of smartphones, apps, and wearables.

Like previous devices in the series, the watchword for the Smart2 is simplicity, sourced in this case from extensive interviews with current and potential users, VP Product Development John Chin told MobiHealthNews.

“One of the very common things that we hear is that a lot of the customer base, they’re somewhat intimidated by the technology,” Chin said. “They’ve seen all their friends and children and grandchildren carrying around these smartphones, whether it’s an Apple-based device or whether it’s an Android-based device, and they still want to feel connected, but they’re intimidated. And they’re intimidated because the typical smartphone experience is small icons with confusing words and they just don’t know how to use it. But they still are very interested in being able to use it, so we offer a solution that is very compelling where it is a very advanced smartphone at the end of the day, but it provides a very simple interface and it meets their needs.”

The phone features a simplified menu of apps that seniors are typically most interested in: phone, text messages, camera, internet, email, maps, and the Lively app (GreatCall’s mPERS line). It also includes a 5Star Urgent Response button for contacting emergency services via GreatCall’s call center. Jitterbug works with longtime partner Alcatel to provide the connectivity.

“This is a ground-up redesign from a user experience perspective,” Chin said. “That’s something we experimented with in previous generations, but we put a significant amount of effort into this new generation platform and it really is a marked difference compared to some of the competition and what we’ve done in the past.”

The phone will be available for $149.99, with data plans starting at $17.48 per month. It will hit retail stores — including, presumably, new owner Best Buy — September 3rd.