Tag Archives: seniors

Why Choose a Windows Phone?

The Lumia 650, the current replacement of my first Lumia 620

In a recent blogpost I wrote that a smartphone was a good candidate as a computer for seniors and I showcased my Lumia 830. Some readers commented that nobody uses Windows phones anymore. But is that true?

In this post I will make the case for why you should consider a Windows phone.

Not Popular
Firstly, it is really true that Windows phone is not popular, it has a 1% market share. You would have a hard time finding a Windows phone in many of the big box stores, and if you do, the sales people are not very knowledgeable about the phone. They will probably discourage you from considering a Windows phone lamenting the cliché “there are no apps”. Surely they must be right…

My Story
Everybody I knew had a smartphone, so I decided I wanted to be “with it” and get one too. So off to the Telus store I went and they recommended a Samsung Galaxy. Oh my, was it ever confusing! So I dutifully got a book (300 pages) on the Samsung Galaxy. Many coffees later and a well-thumbed manual, I was not really more clued in—but at least I had worked out how to make phone calls.

Then I saw an interview on TV with Kevin O’Leary and he mentioned a Windows phone – I had not even heard of it up till then. So I ordered a cheap Lumia 620 on Amazon just to try it I out. I was amazed at how easy it was to use! Even though it was a low end phone, it did everything I really needed in a way that I intuitively could understand. My expensive Samsung ended up in desk drawer where it still remains.

The App Gap
When I bought my first Windows phone, I had not even heard of the “app gap”. What is it? Most articles on Windows phone will state something like this “Apple and Android have 1,500,000 apps but Windows has only 500,000”. And that is probably correct, give and take a few thousand, but what does it mean? Does it mean that one will have a less satisfying experience when using a Windows phone? Not at all. The core apps that people use 90% of the time are available on all three platforms.

In real life, people don’t spend a lot of time perusing the app store and downloading a suite of apps—it would take a lifetime to check even just the 500,000 Windows apps. Research shows that most people use Facebook 50% of the time, and a few other apps, the rest of their time on their phones. So the app gap is not a real factor when considering a Windows phone.

Don’t let technical review articles, or incompetent sales staff quoting the app gap ad nauseam, put you off. Windows phones are readily available from the Microsoft store, as well as online from Amazon.

You will appreciate just how easy it is to learn and use the phone. Your real life experience with Windows phone will be a pleasant surprise.

This old video, dating from the time I heard Kevin O’Leary mention Windows phone, still explains it well.

Computers for Seniors

laptop6fpoCan computers play a role in the lives of seniors, or are we “over the hill”? Should computers even be considered?

In this post I will look at why I believe that computers can play an important role in the lives of seniors.

Not all the same
Seniors are not a homogeneous group. Some have been using computers for most of their careers, while others have not touched a computer ever. But many seniors face common problems like loneliness and resulting depression.

The Advantages
Computers can do so many things that they can be useful for all seniors. We will list just a few:

  • Access to information at any time—weather, health, news, diet, finances.
  • Communication with friends and family, and virtual friends who share your interests.
  • Entertainment in the form of online movies, radio, eBooks, podcasts, chess, bridge, etc.
  • Online banking and purchasing.
  • Support for your hobbies, whether knitting, cooking, photography or the Internet of Things.
  • Gaming and other tools to enhance dexterity and mental agility.
  • Contribute your skills and experience through online mentoring.

The Challenges
There are several factors that prevent seniors from considering a computer:

  • Physical limitations like poor eyesight and limited hand dexterity.
  • Many fear using a computer as they are “sure to mess things up”.
  • Many don’t understand what computers can do for them so they don’t see the point.
  • Many have downsized so they have limited space in their accommodation.
  • Lack of funds.
  • Steep learning curve.

The Risks
There are risks to consider:

  • What if you actually “mess up” your computer, who do you turn to for help?
  • Scammers who take advantage of vulnerable seniors.
  • Excessive use may promote a sedentary lifestyle.

The Takeaway
The advantages that computers can provide are really quite compelling. The challenges and risks, while real, can be managed and mitigated.

Personally I am a senior who has grown up with computers as it were. I am also a computer instructor and have personally seen what a difference  computers can make in the lives of seniors.