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Just5 Cellphone Focus: Emergencies, Simplicity

7/16/2010 10:02:20 AM Eastern

Las Vegas -- Cellular handset vendor Just5 is breaking into the U.S. market with products that target consumers interested in reliable, simple-to-use voice-centric phones and cellphones intended only for use in emergencies.

The company is bringing its unlocked 850/1,900MHz GSM phones to the U.S. from Europe, currently selling through distributor Ingram Micro. Other distributors are in the works. Just5's products are already available to consumers on the web at NewEgg.com and Provantage.com, with two other on-line retailers coming online in the next few weeks. Just5 is also in discussions with brick-and-mortar retailers, a spokesperson said.

Just5 offers a single model available in five colors at a suggested $119.99. The colors are black, white, gray, red and orange. In addition, Just5 will offer a new J510 model in black and white in the coming months.

The current models features large buttons, a "speaking keypad" that confirms which buttons are pressed, amplified speaker volume (up to 100db), an FM radio with speaker, a flashlight, simplified keyboard locking via a switch, long battery life for reliability, and emergency-response features.

The emergency-response function lets users preset up to five phone numbers for 911, family, friends, doctors and the like, said Alex Petrov, operations VP at Just5 Americas. When a large emergency SOS button is pressed, the phone activates a siren to attract the attention of people nearby. The phone then texts an urgent message (such as "I'm having an emergency, please answer") to the five preset numbers, then dials the numbers in a prioritized order.

When the call is answered, the phone automatically switches to a loud speakerphone mode in case the user dropped the phone.

The phone is especially suitable for seniors citizens, people with poor eyesight or hearing problems, people with medical conditions that require constant care, and children who need a starter phone, the company said. "The phone offers only the essential features for these target audiences and provides a simple alternative to today's increasingly complex handsets and smartphones."

"We want to open mobile phones to specific populations that may have difficulty using the latest and greatest mobile gadgets," Petrov added.

The GSM phone connects with any U.S. or Canadian GSM network when the network's prepaid or postpaid SIM card is inserted.