Slower, Simpler Jitterbug 5s Senior Phone Unveiled
The revolutionary new phone was introduced in Samsung's crowded community room by British musician Keith Richards, stepping in for retired Jitterbug spokesman Andy Rooney who bowed out last week, claiming he “didn’t work for 70 years to be in a suit and tie at 10 a.m.” It’s believed that Richards was brought on board to appeal to aging baby boomers who have overwhelmingly rejected the sophisticated iPhone and are Jitterbug-ready.
Richards, greeted with a quasi-standing ovation, lurched around the stage waving the phone, chain-smoking, speaking in partial sentences, and laughing at some secret commentary in his head.
“[Expletive] Here is…some like…cobalt. Jitter 5s rejiggin’ [expletive]… party-ready…phone…[expletive] calls…” Richards announced to hoots from a few members of the audience who could understand him. A dozen or so other people walked out of the presentation shortly after Richards took the stage. Eventually, TV personality Alan Thicke took over as translator for Richards.
“Keith’s excited about the new features—how about you?” Thicke hollered, whipping up the crowd’s excitement. “A few buttons. Thumb-sized numbers! Yes/No prompts! No apps! No music! No Internet! In red and grey!”
“If they want me they know how to get me,” said Ernie Ramos, a 66-year-old retired business owner from Taft, California. “Why should I have to call?”
“Why red?” asked Marleen Tucker, 78. The Fairfield, VA widow found the color red “way too racy, especially when you’re using it out of doors. I don’t know if I want somebody to see me on a red phone…” she said. Several attendees echoed the concern. Others were frustrated that there was no version of Angry Birds or Office Zombie available for the Jitterbug. For the majority, though, the new phone was “an awakening.”
“It’s really nice,” said Earl Krenmore, a retired plumber from Morristown, Pennsylvania. “The buttons mean what they mean—there’s no secret code you have to learn, except when companies use those goddamn spelling out names that you’ve got to figure out on the numbers. I hate that.”
“I have sensible shoes, and now a sensible phone,” said Ruby Onstad 91, of Minneapolis. “It just makes sense. Skip all that YouTooth and MyFace stuff. Not for me.”
“They’re so cheap I have three of them,” said Elaine Watanabe from San Jose, California. “One in my car, one in my purse, and one in the nightstand. They’re like sunglasses—I never know where I left them.”
The Jitterbug, which sells for $79.00, is available in one, two, and five megabyte versions, with up to 60 minutes per month on plans available for less than $10 through virtually any carrier. “Who can kick about a deal like that?” Thicke exclaimed as a section of elderly women from the same bus tour pumped their fists in the air.
- Rotary sound when buttons are pushed.
- A small address book attached to the Jitterbug with a simple, replaceable rubber band
- Sophisticated “Holla-Back” feature that answers to “Where’s the damn phone?” with a reply of “Over here!”
- A personal assistant, called “Operator,” summoned at the push of the “0” button.
- Repeat-a-Greet feature that repeats the calling party’s “Hello” three times in successively louder volume.
- Single button alert for police, paramedics, and coroner.
“I might get one, I might not. I’m not much for phone calling,” said Polly Walling, a retired elementary school teacher from Des Moines. Walling, 83, brushed off a question pressing her for a feature that might convince her to purchase the new Jitterbug. “I’m meeting some of the girls for lunch at Costco. Ask somebody else.”