Jitterbug Touch 2 offers seniors more health apps

By Jonah Comstock
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Jitterbug Touch 2GreatCall , its second generation smartphone offering for older Americans. GreatCall's Jitterbug phones offer simplified user interfaces, cheaper data plans, and built-in health apps, all specifically geared to the older, less tech-savvy demographic.

The company, which recently partnered with Bosch Healthcare, launched the Jitterbug Touch in October 2012. Prior to that it offered only feature phones. With the Touch 2, the company has eliminated the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but otherwise most of the first generation features remain. Like it's predecessor, the Touch 2 is an Android phone.

Jitterbug worked with AARP to conduct a survey of older Americans to find what they wanted in a smartphone and based improvements on that data. For instance, the user interface has all the available apps listed with their full names in large letters, rather than relying on small icons. The survey also found that most older people were concerned about the price of data plans, so the Jitterbug 2 allows users to see their current data usage and fees at any time. Rates start at just $2.49 per month.

All the apps on the Jitterbug are preloaded, to save users the potential confusion of dealing with an app store. The original Jitterbug Touch included two health apps also released by GreatCall for standard smartphones. One, 5Star Urgent Response, allows the smartphone to serve as a mobile personal emergency response (or mPERS) device. The user can call for an emergency responder with a single button in the event of a fall or other unexpected health incident. Another app, MedCoach, helps seniors input their medication schedules and sends reminders when it's time to take their pills.

The Jitterbug Touch 2 offers a new, third health app called . Urgent Care gives the users one-button access to a live, registered nurse who can give medical advice or assessments. The nurse can get a doctor if necessary who can give diagnoses and even simple prescriptions. The app also includes a medical dictionary and symptom checker tool.

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