back to article Why on Earth would you build a closed Android phone?

This is the Doro 740, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week and expected to ship in the summer. The Doro 740 might be the last phone you'll ever need While other Android phone manufacturers are struggling to differentiate their phones, this one has no problems: it’s aimed at older folk. The major players …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I've been wondering what to do when Dad's old 6310 finally dies, all the smart phones in the World would be no use for him. This is a genius product and there's a lot of thought obviously gone in. It seems they've properly understood their target market's needs and issues. Bravo!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      the free phone my son got with his dinomite comic on Saturday.

    2. Code Monkey
      Thumb Up

      There are plenty of basic phones available for under £20 (if you shop around you can find them with a tenner of calls pre-paid). Being just calls and tect devices, you won't see any in these esteemed pages but they're prefect for me mam who doesn't want a smartphone.

      With a battery life measured in days I'm tempted to "upgrade" myself.

    3. Manu T

      the one usefull feature again missing

      Unfortunately it has that one useful feature missing: Yes indeed: "Automatic Call Recording". So that ederly ppl can replay their last conversation at their pace or let their next of kin decipher wtf the conversation was about (especially when calls to technical departements of some sorts had been made to fix something). Particularly useful as they are usually a bit slower to react to the callcenter-operator's query.

      So I wouldn't ditch that old Nokia just yet. Because sometimes a phone for elders is more than just big buttons and single page menus.

    4. N13L5

      Their target market's needs? really?

      So the elderly you know are just clamoring to be stuck with the same lousy battery life that keeps us permanently hunting for power outlets?

      I think this phone would work much better as a feature phone without Android.

      I'm saying this even though I'm a happy SGSII user, but really, for my mum, the presence of Android on a phone could not be more irrelevant.

      Far better to use up the space in this not-so-small phone for wireless charging just by placing it on her bedside table.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nearly got an...

    iPhone here!

  3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Same here - looks to be a well thought out product that's well targeted.

  4. Mondo the Magnificent
    Thumb Up

    A niché market gap

    And what a good idea that is. My dad has an Android handset and he almost driven me insane with the "senior schoolboy errors" he was making on it. Everything from background Facebook updates via 3G/radio, auto text complete "issues" to attempting to connect to the neighbour's WiFi

    In the end I cleaned the home screens up, only placing the Apps he wanted to access. I also had to give him a run down on when/why radio data and WiFi should be used as well as disabling the auto text feature.

    Sometimes modern handsets can be confusing for the older folk, (my dad's in his late 70's) and a "not so smart" smart phone is probably what he needs.

    I will certainly be looking at the Doro 740 as a future replacement. Well done on identifying a product that wont confuse the bejeezus out of my dad and also simplify my life.

  5. DrXym

    Closed is fine

    Just as long as they bundle a catfood calculator app.

  6. Tom_

    Great idea.

    It would be even better with a larger font on those menus!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great idea.

      ...and less keys.

      6 buttons on the front alone? If they are locking the apps ecosystem surely they could have limited this. My gran has enough trouble using the 4 buttons on the induction stove I got her.

      As for Bluetooth for medical devices, if it's not Bluetooth 4 it won't be of much use.

  7. dogged

    Getting there

    Now make it a clamshell to protect the screen and ruggedize it a bit and you very nearly have the perfect form-factor for the working man, as opposed to the office weenie.

    1. CollyWolly

      Re: Getting there

      Candybar designs have a far lower return rate than clamshells, due to less moving parts to break.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Getting there

      Are you not happy with th Motorola Defy JCB edition?

      * Exclusive JCB branded skin with shock absorption, designed specifically for the DEFY

      * Exclusive JCB application which includes 6 tools ( Therodolite, Spirit Level, Torch and Decibel Reader) and a B&Q store locator

      1. dogged

        Re: Getting there

        Are you not happy with th Motorola Defy JCB edition?

        Not really. The USP on THIS device is the fact that you don't need to touch the screen (but can when it's safe to do so). That means that you don't get concrete, shit, dirt, diesel, whatever on your shiny shiny phone screen and make it unusable.

        A touchscreen is great for when your hands are clean. When they're not, it's a disaster.

        1. steogede

          Re: Getting there

          >> That means that you don't get concrete, shit, dirt, diesel, whatever on your shiny shiny phone screen and make it unusable.

          Yeah, because buttons work so well when caked in the aformentioned. Surely better to wash your hands/take your gloves of and ring them back.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Getting there

            yes. very good suggestion wait till the end of the day surely you will not forget by then and there is never a need to use the phone on the job.

            alternative suggestion, learn what you are talking about first. ruggedized phone to go along with ruggedized laptop could make sense.

  8. tirk
    Thumb Up

    Could be useful to people who work outside in cold weather too, as an alternative to conductive gloves (and when your fingers don't work too accurately either!)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A maker who -

    - knows its audience and their goals

    - cares about usability

    - isn't selling useless features

    Well done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A maker who -

      They're doomed.

      But this is a great idea in a world of iPhone photocopies.

  10. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Or Shock...

    Simply an easy to use phone for ANYONE that mostly uses laptop, needs reading glasses and mostly wants to make phone calls.

    There is a much Broader market than Aged Parents.

  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    At first I thought, "How patronising!". I then remember the number of times my old man, an ex car/bike mechnic with fingers like mini-baguettes, gets on the phone and curses his Android mobile!

    "Can't see the bloody text!"

    "Can't get my fingers on the bloody tiny numbers without mashing the stupid bloody phone keyboard!"

    "I have to use the bloody thing very slowly, one slip and I pick the wrong bloody menu when my fingers accidentally hit the wrong bloody area by mistake!"

    ( Depending upon the urgency to use said device, the word 'bloody' gets substituted for ever more colourful words! )

  12. ted frater

    A step in the right direction,

    OK, so ive big hands,

    tired eyes

    Hearing isnt so good

    but like using a mobile , mainly for the odd call when im away from my land line.

    when operating machinery the last thing I need is data on line or emails or anything else except a phone call if its urgent

    .Despite trying very hard to talk to Nokia, Samsung and LG to offer to write a specification for a mobile to suit me and others like me they deliberately make it virtually impossible to get in touch with ther design section.

    My needs are,

    A fold phone ie a flip phone as it has to live in the pocket of my overalls along with tools etc.

    Because the case has to be strong to protect the screem and keyboard.


    A loud ring as when im on a tractor I will hear it,

    A battery of at least 3500mah, si I will only need to charge it once a week.

    A proper keyboard like on the nokia 9210i communicator. decent keys properly spaced.

    A decent speaker also like on the communicator.

    size , weight bulkyness isnt an issue.

    Useability, durability long life

    strong construction.

    the money is there, and there are millions of us similar folk out there world wide.

    I wouldnt have a smart phone even if it was free as it doesnt meet my needs.

    Perhaps I should talk to Huawei they seem to want to break the mould of the big operators.


    In Dorset


    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Re: A step in the right direction,

      For some strange reason they design phones for people like themselves, office workers -:). Now I am not knocking the white-collar brigade (these days I belong to it myself) but it is a very different working-life style from the daily experience of the manual worker. "Noise, dirt, often poor lighting conditions and impact risk" sums it up roughly and it is surely beyond dispute that the industry in general has, to a significant extent, failed to take that into account when designing/building their products.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: A step in the right direction,

        "For some strange reason they design phones for people like themselves..."

        You're implying that all mobile phone designers are Tw@book 'n muzak obsessed teenagers?

        As far as I can see, the only development effort made these days is in the "our phone's got a better Tw@book app that your phone" area.

    2. perlcat
      Thumb Up

      Well, Ted...

      Look into a Kyocera E4100 Taho.

      I have one -- a ruggedized clamshell/flip phone like you write about -- the guy that reviewed it left it open and drove his car over it, and didn't break it. (Won't try that with my truck, though...) Waterproof and sealed ports, so when I dunk it (or just get sweaty) it doesn't die or get crusty keys.

      This is basically a mil-spec phone, and what our guys in the field also have -- and locomotives *can* get loud... Has a decent ringer, unlike the &#@$ dog-whistle that was on my old blackberry, and runs about 10 days on a charge. That's a big deal for me, as I don't want to sit around all day with my thumb up my ass waiting for it to charge.

      Only one downside. The outer LCD has an idiotic font that you can't change. 1's look like 7's.


      1. perlcat

        ...and one more thing.

        It's uglier than sin. Nobody's going to steal this phone. You won't have to worry about running out of money for birth control when the babes see you with it.

        1. dogged

          Re: ...and one more thing.

          The "Sprint" part indicates a CDMA phone, which is not functional at all in the UK and hence useless to Ted.

          But I like this. If it were GSM, I'd buy one.

          1. perlcat
            Thumb Up

            Re: ...and one more thing.

            THe interesting part to me was that they mentioned several others in the pc world review that they liked better. Possibly there's paydirt in there for you. None for me, though -- my work's tied to Sprint, which is often more like "Jog", or "slow walk through Central Park whilst waving cash about".

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Excellent Product

    I just hop this company is doing well and continues to refine its product, because I'm sure I'll be wanting it in a decade or two.

    Expansion in to the rugged and dirty-user (fnaar) markets as mentioned by others seems natural too.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I purchased the Doro Phone Easy 410 for a family member - and it's a very handy phone ... so long as you watch the panic button.

    This is certainly an interesting model.

  15. Armando 123

    Um ...

    "slick standard Android feel "

    ... yeah.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um ...

      I think they meant "slick standard CyanogenMod feel"..

    2. simlb

      Re: Um ...

      I think they meant to say "slick standard CyanogenMod feel"...

      1. Wild Bill

        Re: Um ...

        Hah, exposed yourself with your double post. Now we know who's been leaving all those anonymous comments round the site.

  16. Timo

    must-have apps - find my mum!

    Hope the GPS doesn't drain the battery too quickly, a real "find my android/mum" app could be priceless.

    I'm only half joking here. About a year ago a friend's father with Alzheimer's took off one afternoon, they couldn't find him. He took the truck, drove to his boyhood home/farmstead, got stuck far back on the property, and died from exposure. They located him after a couple of days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: must-have apps - find my mum!

      No joke - in Japan you can buy exactly that, and for just the reason you state.

    2. Graham Bartlett

      Re: must-have apps - find my mum!

      Don't know about Android, but on my E72 I've got an app which periodically reports location to a central server. The main reason is in case someone nicks it (not too likely with an E72!), but it would also do nicely for random wandering due to memory loss. Or kidnapping, for that matter.

  17. David Cantrell

    Yeah, great. It's good that old people are being catered for. Blind people are catered for too, by the iPhone which has awesome accessibility gubbins built in. Shame that us deaf people are ignored unless they're also old. We can either use a Smart Phone for all the apps that we want, but struggle to hear people talking to us, or we can get a Cripple Phone with a volume control that goes to eleven (or works with the telecoils in our cybernetic enhancements) but is utterly useless for anything other than phone calls.

    Part of the problem, of course, is the RNID, which seems to think that crippled 1990s-style phones are actually useful these days for anyone apart from old fogies and that "large clear buttons" are more important than functionality.

  18. sedentarygit

    veryold grumpygit

    How f"""""g patronising is this article and some comments. As a 67 year old I find absolutely no problem in operating my Monte Carlo which I managed to unlock and update with the latest modaco developed roms. Must go working on a win 7 lite version for my netbook.

    1. Wild Bill

      Re: veryold grumpygit

      I think this is more marketed at your parent's generation. No need to worry.

  19. Leona A
    Thumb Up

    not just elderly.

    what about those of us with very low vision?

    Given Android's pitiful excuse for Accessibility features, we have less choice for usable phones, might be the type of phone I may have considered, and I'm Not Elderly!

    For now, I'm using a Sony Xperia Pro with a 10x magnifier!

    1. Leona A

      Re: not just elderly.

      While I think of it, it reminds me of Code Factory's Mobile Accessibility Software.

      but at £60 a go, I can't afford it. (for something that should be standard in a modern day OS).

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