Alcatel 2019G: the most innovative phone on the market

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You will laugh when I write this, but arguably the most innovative phone on the market is a clever little Alcatel 2019G. It is specifically designed for a market that is frequently overlooked: older people.

It caters for those who are hard of hearing and need a phone with big numbers. And the older one gets, the harder of hearing one tends to be and the more one’s eyesight may diminish.

Anyone in their late 40s can confirm the impending need for reading glasses or bifocals for those of us already wearing glasses for short-sightedness.

But there’s a whole category of older users who need phones like the one Alcatel makes. My mother, Sylvia, turned 91 this year and is a rampant user of new technologies that never existed when she (or I) was born. She uses an iPad every day (with a stylus) and bought a cellphone when they first appeared in the 1990s.

Now her cellphone is her primary voice connection and this Alcatel model for older folk is the third iteration I’ve acquired for her.

It’s ideal for its purpose: it has big buttons and a screen with big characters. You can hear it from anywhere in the house when it rings, and you can clearly hear the other person talking.

The tech specs are almost irrelevant because it does what it advertises it will. It has a 2.4-inch colour screen, a 2-megapixel rear camera that can record video as well as Bluetooth and a battery that has 16 hours of talk time and up to 29 hours of standby time.

This is the ultimate example of what is known by academics as “appropriate technology”. It’s exactly what this under catered age group and market needs.

Well done, Alcatel, not only for making it but for continuing to update each model with new features that don’t override the original rationale.

You can get the Alcatel 2019G from Vodashop for R550.

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About Author

Toby Shapshak is editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff, a Forbes contributor and a Financial Mail columnist. He has been writing about technology and the internet for 20 years and his TED Global talk on innovation in Africa has over 1,5-million views. He has written about Africa's tech and start-up ecosystem for Forbes, CNN and The Guardian in London. He was named in GQ's top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper's influential young South Africans. He has been featured in the New York Times. GQ said he "has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country" while the M&G wrote: "Toby Shapshak is all things tech... he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech."

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