back to article Mobile phones for minimalists

John's Phone, from the designer firm John Doe Amsterdam, could be the greatest grandparent phone of all time. It is certainly an interesting minimalist experiment in usability. Ten centimetres tall and weighing 95g, John's Phone cuts the crap so pretty much all that remains is a basic box with a standard keypad. A screen …


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  1. Colin Millar

    Where's the old fogey icon

    You need to see a screen while dialing?

    Has the internet completely killed your attention span?

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Has the internet completely killed your attention span?

      Yes. Yes it....oh look, a kitten.


    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Read _GRANDPARENT_ phone

      My old folks need to check every 2 digits that they have entered the correct ones, so yeah they need to be able to see the screen.

      To be honest, better would be a series of buttons marked "John", "Mary" etc. so they don't have to worry about numbers. Some of them seem to even have trouble remembering which name is which, let alone what numbers to dial to who.

  2. Thomas 18

    Classical rotary dialler phone

    I want a mobile that's a hollowed out rotary dialler of yore complete with curly chord to handset. That would be perfect for the oldies too.

    How cool would it be to whip it out of your bag, plonk it on the desk and start turning numbers.

    1. JakeyC


      This should get you halfway there...

      1. Richard 116



      2. mhoulden
        Paris Hilton


        There's one at Just watch a certain heiress doesn't try to throw it at you.

        1. amanfromearth
          Thumb Down


          Its 300 bucks.!

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      A "curly chord"?

      Is that one played on a French horn, Souzaphone, Serpent, Contra-bassoon or similar?

  3. stucs201

    Not too good for my Grandma...

    ...her name is Edna, not John.

    Seriously though, having it labelled with a persons name might not be great for those of the older generation with failing memories who get confused easily. Unless of course their name really is John.

  4. hugo tyson

    Looks bulky to me...

    ..compared to the legendary moto F3.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      What's size got to do with anything?

    2. VampyreWolf
      Thumb Up

      Gota love the F3

      Despite Motorola not selling it here, I still managed to get my hands on 3 of em. It's a phone designed as a phone (and not designed to be another computer).

      Though 3 weeks of standby makes this one sound tempting...

  5. Caff

    backup phone

    That would actually work pretty well as a backup phone if you ended up away from somewhere to charge your main one.

  6. Tempest
    Thumb Up

    What parents need ...

    is a hand-phone into which up to 5 numbers could pre-programmed, with a graphic capability for each number, so children could be given a phone which permits them only to call trusted people without the risk of dialing any other number without cost control. The graphic along each number could be of the person whose number is programmed.

    Since some jurisdictions require GPS be fitted, this data could be transmitted so the called party would know where the child user was located.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      I have done this with Android phones. Works a treat, once you know how to lock them down.

  7. Paul Ireland


    It is better than most mobile phones on the market, in that it includes a real ink pen - very useful.

  8. Natalie Gritpants

    If you want to appeal to the oldies

    better make the volume switch go Loud, Louder, Deafening

  9. Mike Cardwell


    A lot of people have smartphones these days that barely last 24 hours before needing to be recharged. I would definitely buy one of these phones to take camping, on holiday and on weekends away along side my smartphone.

    However, it doesn't mention SMS, and by the sounds of it, it doesn't support SMS. That rules it out for me. Like most people, I spend more time talking via SMS than via voice...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most people?

      Teenagers you mean.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I love it. A mobile phone that's actually a phone, rather than a camera or a web browser or whatever. Great concept. I'd have one tomorrow were it not for one thing. The price.

    Why does it cost that much when all it will do is make a receive phone calls? There are any number of cheap phones for less than half that much. If they'll sell them for under £20 I promise I'll buy one.

    1. David Gosnell

      Ultra cheap non-feature phone

      Tesco used to do this, for under a tenner, SIM-free...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        That was rather my point. If Tesco can do that for under a tenner why does John's phone cost six times as much, Should be about a fiver really.

        And it's best feature is that you'll get no annoying texts from your provider about all the deals you don't want.

      2. Tempest

        Disposable cells are in reality POTS - Plain Old Telephone Service

        If they can bang out disposable phones for a minimal number of bucks/pounds why not these? The only difference is in the case and the SIM.

  11. James 5

    @AC Actually....

    Just wait till Tesco gets hold of it - £19.99 and that'll include re-badging the name to "That woman with the annoying accent that does our adverts"'s phone!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Have a look for the tesco party phone. Costs 5 or 10 quid. Not good for oldies (small buttons) but it's a minimal phone with sms.

  13. NBCanuck

    Times are changing

    Give a whole new meaning to "Excuse me, I have to go use the John."

  14. Lottie
    Thumb Up

    looks sturdy

    Should be able to support the best phone game ever as well... Catch!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    it's the opposite of an iphone must be the anti-christ-phone

  16. Peter 4

    Not a good ringtone though

    Not a good ringtone though...

    Don't forget to switch to Nederlands and it is about 2/3 of the way into the player.

    (In the neuiws section, the first item, john's-phone-bij-bnr)

    I still want a simple mobile with a ringtone like a real phone bell not some rubbish noise from america!


  17. HFoster

    Makes me think of...

    that YouTube video that's been doing the rounds this week, "My Life As A Dickhead".

    It's likely to find itself wedged into a pair of skinny jeans while its owner rides their fixy to some ultra-pretentious squat party/art exhibition in Hackney.

    No thanks!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nice but

    I'll stick with my nokia 1800 thanks. It can do sms and calls , a few simple games, has a torch and a standby time of over a week. mind you I do agree with the sentiment. I leave smartphones to the poseurs.

  19. Jonathan Cohen

    Not for the "active" and tech capable pensioner...

    When are any of these companies actually going to make a phone for the more active pensioner? My farther who’s in his 60’s complains he can’t press the buttons or screen on most phones, yet needs to text to pay for parking and would also like email/internet. He also needs Activesync to synchronise the contacts with his desktop PC ( via Exchange - to save “fiddling around” with the phone).

    He was seriously considering an iPad until we pointed out the voice/text part was missing. An iPhone is just a bit too small and gives no tactile feedback. Maybe the Galaxy tab but again a real keyboard would be better.

  20. John Tserkezis


    It beats the early iPhone (without the cut/copy/paste functionality) in that it supplies a pen.

    And no, I'm not ever going to let them live that one down.

    Still think the screen is too small. I can hear the "where's my glasses" again...

  21. John Blagden


    In the early 90's, I had a Sony mobile (getting too old to remember the model) that was a dead ringer for this, except it was dark green and you couldn't see the numbers in the dark.

    Oh, and it had a stubby little aerial!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kind of funny

    It would be funny if it wasn't so sad that so many posters here have been sucked in by smatphone marketing crap. Do you people really *need* something that didn't even exist five years ago?

    Phone marketing reminds me of washing powder marketing. You've just got to have the new version that washes whiter than white, whereas your old powder made everything grey. But hang on a minute didn't they say that about the last version and the version before that? Likewise with phones. Every new phone is the last phone you'll ever need. And yet I know people who have at least three new phones a year.

  23. irrelevant


    My first (analogue) mobile phone didn't even have a display! Just a keypad, like a simple landline phone. I think I still have it somewhere...

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