BARCELONA, Spain--It's important to respect your elders. And the Fujitsu Stylistic S01 for seniors manages to be simple enough for those who aren't used to smartphones without being patronizing, by offering features that pretty much anyone would find useful.
Many phones aimed at older users, or those who might struggle with fiddly touchscreens, go for big chunky plastic buttons. But the S01 takes a less patronizing approach, aiming for a simplified smartphone experience that can be enhanced as the user gets to grips with what's on offer.
The first thing you notice when using it is that the touchscreen doesn't work by simply tapping on the screen, like a regular phone. Instead, the screen is pressure-sensitive, so you press a bit harder to activate the feature you want, avoiding accidental button pushes. Each tap gives you a small buzz of haptic feedback.
The S01 is an Android phone running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, but there's a whole new interface placed on the top. Everything is arranged on one screen, so there's no swiping left or right to multiple home screens. Instead, apps are placed on the screen in order of importance. The most commonly used apps are at the top, with larger icons so they're easier to press.
So the phone dialer, text messages, email and Facebook are arranged at the top, along with three speed-dial buttons. They're color-coded to match the sections of the manual so you can quickly find help to use them. Each of the basic apps has a question mark in the top right that explains how to use it.
Beneath the basic functions is an icon marked My Number, handy if you have trouble remembering your number (and who doesn't?).
Scroll down and you start to get more smartphone-like functions, like a widget displaying the latest headlines, and a simple Google search box. Then there's the camera, maps, access to the Google Play online app store, and more.
Keep scrolling down and you reach the rest of your apps, including things like Amazon, TripAdvisor and more. You can add to the list by downloading more apps and games from Google Play.
On the hardware side, the S01 is waterproof so will survive a dunk in the toilet or sink. If you have a spill of a more worrying kind, you can activate an alarm by pulling out a button on the back should you fall or have an accident. The alarm alerts people nearby, while the phone automatically dials out to specified emergency contacts. If it detects that your emergency contact has gone to voice mail, it dials the next person on the list, and so on.
It has a dedicated camera button to make it easy to capture a snap without messing about with the touchscreen, and selected friends and family can send photos that automatically appear on the phone without you having to do anything.
Handily, you don't need a cable to charge the S01: just drop it in a dock like a cordless phone, making it easier to answer without being tangled up in a cord.
Wireless charging, a simplified interface, waterproof exterior...come to think of it, forget about seniors: I want these features on every phone.The Fujitsu Stylistic S01 is coming to Orange in June. For more on the latest phones, tablets and mobile devices -- including a prototype GPS walking cane that guides seniors to their destination -- check out our in-depth, video-packed coverage of Mobile World Congress.