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It's really difficult to buy a mobile phone for your parents丨Reporter celebrates the New Year

It's really difficult to buy a mobile phone for your parents丨Reporter celebrates the New Year

It's really difficult to buy a mobile phone for your parents丨Reporter celebrates the New Year

On February 27, 2021, in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, an elderly man looks at his mobile phone on a park bench. Visual China / Figure

It's not just young people who suffer from mobile phone dependence, and when I came home for the Chinese New Year, I found that my mom spent a lot of screen time a day, up to six or seven hours a day.

In recent years, the so-called "old man's machine" is no longer popular, and the elders in the family have been replaced by smart machines one after another. Mom and relatives often make WeChat videos, WeChat and Douyin are her top apps, and online shopping and ordering takeout are also not a problem.

Soon, the memory of 128G was in an emergency, and the elders also wanted to change to a new mobile phone.

I went to several brands of mobile phone experience stores in my hometown, and asked the elderly which mobile phone is suitable for use? The common characteristics of the style recommended by the clerk are nothing more than large batteries, loud sounds, and large screens, and the first recommended price is also concentrated between 1500-2500 yuan.

But these are not my ideal old phones.

Mobile phones also have an "elder mode"

Young people like to study the parameters of the mobile phone, pay attention to the cost performance, what is the processor, how fast the memory reads and writes, whether the fingerprint is optical or ultrasound, and so on. If someone asks me which phone is better, I always pick the best one from various reviews.

However, in the process of choosing a mobile phone for the elderly at home, I realized that the stacked parameters cannot represent the entire user experience, and the so-called cost performance is also difficult to calculate the perceptual factor.

In my conversation with the clerk, I found that in recent years, there have also been some sub-categories of smartphones - game phones, camera phones, but there are few "elderly mobile phones".

The clerk said that manufacturers and mobile phone stores do not like to promote "elderly machines", on the one hand, people have a stereotype of elderly machines, which means that the configuration is poor, easy to freeze, and it is easy to lose more potential consumers; on the other hand, although the elderly group is huge, most of them pick up the "second-hand" goods used by young people, even if they buy new ones, they are often bought by young people.

So when it comes to the Spring Festival, there are not a few people like me who come to the mobile phone store to choose a mobile phone for their family, and a mobile phone store told me that nearly one-third of them come to choose a mobile phone for their parents.

It's really difficult to buy a mobile phone for your parents丨Reporter celebrates the New Year

In mobile phone stores, many customers choose mobile phones for their elders. Southern Weekly reporter Song Bingchen/photo

By the end of 2022, there were 280 million elderly people aged 60 and above in China, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the total population.

In 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the "General Design Specification for Mobile Internet Applications (Apps) for the Elderly", which requires an age-appropriate interface and the adjustment of font size and line spacing in the app. In 2022, China Telecom Research Institute conducted an evaluation of various brands of mobile phones for the elderly, and set up 9 indicators: display optimization, security protection, convenient operation, hearing enhancement, voice playback, health monitoring, family assistance, intelligent assistant, and life entertainment.

After experiencing several mobile phone stores, I found that the aging transformation of mobile phones has made a lot of progress, no longer simply the size of the word, but also specially set up the "elder mode" - slow down the feedback speed, increase the vibration, the mobile phone slows down with the elderly users, enhance the screen contrast, graphics, text can be seen more clearly. The most gratifying thing for me is that these mobile phones have an emergency SOS function, and some can also set blood type, medication, allergies and other information on the security card.

However, these mobile phones still have common problems, the system has been improved for aging, but the App does not have many measures for aging, even if there is a separate aging function, you need to change the switch in the app one by one.

In particular, many domestic mobile phone applications push advertisements are very inducing, and even "occupy" the calendar, reminding them to "grab gold coins" every once in a while, and the elderly don't know where to close, and some netizens once joked that these apps are like "spawning" in mobile phones. In a comprehensive comparison, the improvements made by various brands of mobile phones in terms of adaptation to the elderly are similar, and it is difficult to have a completely satisfactory mobile phone.

"Siri works better than son"?

Looking through the chat records with my family members in the past year, I realized that the elderly use mobile phones, and the function is suitable for the elderly, and it is more convenient for the family to guide the use.

When my mom contacted me, she often asked me how to operate a certain function of my phone, why can't I watch a certain movie on TV, and I can give guidance in my spare time, but when I am busy, I used to put the chat on hold first, and only remember it after a few days, and secretly regret it.

So, I feel that the best option at the moment is to make my family's mobile phone brand as consistent as possible, and if they encounter problems, I can quickly reproduce them on my own phone, without having them send me screenshots one by one. And now there are many mobile phones that support remote control of the same brand.

The inspiration came from my mother's daily life. This Spring Festival, I found that my mother fell in love with Siri, she felt that "Siri is easier to use than her son", and every day whenever there was something, she would say "Hey, Siri", help her play music, set alarms, remember things, and many other functions that she didn't know where to click, Siri could help her do it.

The hottest thing in the tech circle at the moment is "generative artificial intelligence", and during the Spring Festival, the intelligent video generator Sora sparked heated discussions. I tried typing into the chatbot the questions my family had asked me about how to operate my phone, and the answers were not satisfactory, and I was even able to give what I often call a one-size-fits-all solution at the end of many of the questions - restart the try, which already covers most of the solutions, enough to replace 80% of me.

The General Office of the State Council's "Opinions on Developing the Silver Economy and Improving the Well-being of the Elderly" also emphasizes the creation of a new business format of smart and healthy elderly care, and promotes the integrated application of a new generation of information technology, mobile terminals, and wearable devices in elderly care scenarios such as homes, communities, and institutions (see Southern Weekend's report "When You Are Old, Do You Want a Robot to Accompany You?").

Google's generative AI is already built into mobile phones to help people do more, and perhaps in the future, AI will make it easier for the elderly to use their phones.

Southern Weekly reporter Song Bingchen

Editor-in-charge: Wang Tao

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