Best Buy Debuts Simplified Smartphone With Voice Typing for Seniors
Best Buy has launched the Lively Smart, a new, simplified smartphone designed for senior citizens, including the option to dictate text. The phone, built in partnership with tech for older people developer Lively, is part of Best Buy’s Active Aging catalog of feature phones that streamline features and services, focusing on health and safety.
The Lively Smart defaults to a large text and icon format on its 6.2-inch screen. Everything is organized into a single list, and there’s one-touch access to most common functions, including calls to including urgent care and non-emergency health advice. Subscribers can also access Lively Link, a mobile caregiver communication app that keeps authorized family and friends updated on the user’s well-being. It sends alerts when the user reaches out to Urgent Response and updates them about their location and activity. The $150 Lively Smart extends Best Buy Health’s Active Aging initiative. The collection already offers a flip phone that comes with Amazon Alexa to connect seniors. There’s also a Lively app for Apple Watch that can connect seniors to health services.
“Lively Smart expands our lineup of innovative phones and personal emergency response systems (PERS) that are tailored to the active aging population — a key demographic for Best Buy Health,” Best Buy Health president of active aging David Inns said. “With Lively Smart, we’re continuing to innovate and create products that meet the needs of our customers and help them live independently at home.”
There’s a lot of interest in augmenting smart devices with apps and services that keep older people connected to family and caregivers. The COVID-19 pandemic and limits on in-person interaction with older people as a safety measure has only accelerated that trend. Voice apps like My Day for Seniors send regular updates on the health and safety of a user to whoever they choose, as does the Alexa Care Hub, which is designed to let families keep a virtual eye on older loved ones by connecting Alexa accounts. One account becomes the emergency contact, and the voice assistant keeps them informed about their family member’s activity.
Retirement communities are also experimenting with using voice AIs more to improve their care of residents. Tech solutions for seniors developer K4Connect distributed more than 8,000 Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers to retirement communities with its K4Community software, while Google has given 1,000 Nest Hub Max smart displays to retirement communities in Washington State for that purpose and as a pilot program to test a simplified interface for seniors.