Clarity Unveils Elderly-Friendly Phone

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Clarity, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Plantronics division that markets amplified home phones and other communications devices for the hearing-impaired, got into the cellphone market at CTIA 2008 with a phone designed for the elderly.

Like other phones for the elderly, the prepaid unlocked-GSM ClarityLife features large buttons, simplified user interface and a dedicated emergency dialing button, but this slider model adds large screen with magnified text display, amplifies incoming voices up to 20dB for the hearing-impaired, and makes "conversation clearer and easier to understand for people with all degrees of hearing loss," a spokesperson said.

When closed, the slider displays only four large buttons. When open, the slider reveals a dialing keypad with large numeric buttons.

Unlike the Jitterbug-branded phone for the elderly, the ClarityLife model doesn't use a large 911 button for emergency use but a red heart-shaped back-panel button that cycles through five phone numbers until someone picks up. It also lets users select their eight most-called contacts. On its face, ClarityLife has only four buttons.

Other features for the elderly include a strong vibrating ringer, flashing orange LED to signal an incoming call and a flashlight.

The phone will be available in the fall through special-needs distribution channels, including audiologists and specialized retailers. Neither pricing nor service provider was available at press time.

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